Cytopathologic effects of chlorhexidine on human cells

J Periodontol. 1977 Apr;48(4):212-5. doi: 10.1902/jop.1977.48.4.212.


Exposure of human cells in culture to chlorhexidine at concentrations equal to or greater than 0.004% resulted in impaired cellular function and/or cell death. Release of membrane bound 51Cr, inhibition of protein synthesis as measured by incorporation of 3H-leucine into protein-like material, and staining by trypan blue were seen as sequellae to exposure to 0.006% chlorhexidine for 3 hours. Lower doses were capable of inhibiting protein synthesis and releasing 51Cr, but did not result in staining of cells by trypan blue. Exposure of cells to 0.2% chlorhexidine for 30 seconds produced maximal suppression of protein synthesis and release of 51Cr.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Biguanides / pharmacology*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured*
  • Chlorhexidine / administration & dosage
  • Chlorhexidine / pharmacology*
  • Chromium / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Gingiva / drug effects
  • Gingiva / physiology
  • HeLa Cells / drug effects
  • HeLa Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Wound Healing / drug effects


  • Amino Acids
  • Biguanides
  • Chromium
  • Chlorhexidine