Effects of asbestos on epithelioid cell lines

Environ Res. 1978 Oct;17(2):256-65. doi: 10.1016/0013-9351(78)90028-2.


The in vitro effects of asbestos fibers on the growth and viability of CHO cells, an epithelioid cell line derived from Chinese hamster ovary, and on K-22 cells, an epithelial cell line derived from rat liver, have been studied. Relatively low concentrations of asbestos (10 micrograms/ml) were quite cytotoxic to both cell types. A sample of chrysotile asbestos was more toxic than samples of crocidolite or amosite. The toxic factor could not be extracted from the asbestos and toxicity occurred only if there was physical contact between the fibers and the cells. Although the phorbol ester class of tumor promoters induces the synthesis of plasminogen activator in various cell cultures, asbestos did not induce this protease in epithelioid or fibroblast cell cultures. The results obtained are compared to previous in vitro results obtained with fibroblast or macrophage cultures and are discussed in terms of their possible relevance to asbestos-induced fibrosis and tumorigenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asbestos / toxicity*
  • Asbestos, Serpentine
  • Epithelium / drug effects*
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / growth & development
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Plasminogen Activators / biosynthesis*
  • Rats
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Asbestos, Serpentine
  • Asbestos
  • Plasminogen Activators