Interleukin-8 secretion from monocytic cell lines for evaluation of the inflammatory potential of organic dust

Environ Res. 2002 Mar;88(3):188-98. doi: 10.1006/enrs.2002.4335.


The potential of organic dust to induce inflammation in vitro can be viewed as a crude measure of the total biologically active compounds in a dust sample. The purpose of this study was to further develop an in vitro screening method for evaluation of potential hazard related to low doses of dust exposure using two monocytic cell lines (U937 and THP-1). Dust was obtained from schools in Copenhagen. U937 and THP-1 cells were stimulated with dust for 24 h and interleukin-8 secretion was measured. The initial slopes of the dose-response curves were used to calculate the inflammatory potential, or potency factor (PF), of the samples. In characterization of the method, lipopolysaccharide from Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Salmonella enteritidis were tested together with three glucans, nickel sulfate (NiSO(4)), methyl methacrylate (MMA), formaldehyde, and four surfactants. The PF values of LPSs in both monocytic assays ranked as follows: S. enteritidis> E. coli>K. pneumoniae/P. aeruginosa. The PF values of NiSO(4), MMA, formaldehyde, and the surfactants were zero or below. Using the THP-1 cell line, the PF values of dust samples were 30 times higher than when using the U937 cell line, and 7 times higher than when using the lung epithelial cell line (A549). The high sensitivity of the THP-1 bioassay makes it potentially useful as a screening tool for hazard evaluation of dust from, e.g., the indoor environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Assay / methods*
  • Cell Line
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Dust / adverse effects
  • Dust / analysis*
  • Formaldehyde / pharmacology
  • Glucans / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation* / etiology
  • Inflammation* / prevention & control
  • Interleukin-8 / analysis
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Methylmethacrylate / pharmacology
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • Nickel / pharmacology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / prevention & control
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • Surface-Active Agents / pharmacology
  • U937 Cells


  • Dust
  • Glucans
  • Interleukin-8
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Methylmethacrylate
  • Formaldehyde
  • nickel sulfate
  • Nickel