Cytotoxicity of eight cigarette smoke condensates in three test systems: comparisons between assays and condensates

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2010 Dec;58(3):428-36. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2010.08.009. Epub 2010 Aug 16.


Cytotoxic properties of tobacco smoke are associated with chronic tobacco-related diseases. The cytotoxicity of tobacco smoke can be tested with short-term predictive assays. In this study, we compare eight mainstream cigarette smoke condensates (CSCs) from commercial and experimental cigarettes in three different cytotoxicity assays with unique and overlapping endpoints. The CSCs demonstrated cytotoxicity in all assays. In the multiple cytotoxicity endpoint (MCE) assay with TK-6 cells, the cigarette varieties that had the highest EC50s for reduced cell growth also showed a positive dose-response relationship for necrotic cells. In the IdMOC multiple cell-type co-culture (MCTCC) system, all CSCs reduced the viability of the cells. Low concentrations of some CSCs had a stimulatory effect in lung microvascular endothelial cells and small airway epithelial cells. In the neutral dye assay (NDA), except for a 100% flue-cured tobacco CSC, there was little consistency between CSCs producing morphological evidence of moderate or greater toxicity and the CSCs with the lowest EC50s in the MCE or MCTCC assays. Overall, cigarettes made with flue-cured tobacco were the most cytotoxic across the assays. When results were expressed on a per-mg of nicotine basis, lower tar cigarettes were the most cytotoxic in primary human respiratory cells.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Death / drug effects*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Endothelial Cells
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Humans
  • Lung
  • Mutagenicity Tests
  • Necrosis
  • Nicotine / analysis*
  • Smoke / adverse effects*
  • Smoke / analysis*
  • Smoking
  • Tars / analysis*
  • Tobacco*


  • Smoke
  • Tars
  • tobacco tar
  • Nicotine