Effects of Several Cosmetic Preservatives on ROS-Dependent Apoptosis of Rat Neural Progenitor Cells

Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2018 Nov 1;26(6):608-615. doi: 10.4062/biomolther.2017.221.


Benzalkonium chloride, diazolidinyl urea, and imidazolidinyl urea are commonly used preservatives in cosmetics. Recent reports suggested that these compounds may have cellular and systemic toxicity in high concentration. In addition, diazolidinyl urea and imidazolidinyl urea are known formaldehyde (FA) releasers, raising concerns for these cosmetic preservatives. In this study, we investigated the effects of benzalkonium chloride, diazolidinyl urea, and imidazolidinyl urea on ROS-dependent apoptosis of rat neural progenitor cells (NPCs) in vitro. Cells were isolated and cultured from embryonic day 14 rat cortices. Cultured cells were treated with 1-1,000 nM benzalkonium chloride, and 1-50 μM diazolidinyl urea or imidazolidinyl urea at various time points to measure the reactive oxygen species (ROS). PI staining, MTT assay, and live-cell imaging were used for cell viability measurements. Western blot was carried out for cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved caspase-8 as apoptotic protein markers. In rat NPCs, ROS production and cleaved caspase-8 expression were increased while the cell viability was decreased in high concentrations of these substances. These results suggest that several cosmetic preservatives at high concentrations can induce neural toxicity in rat brains through ROS induction and apoptosis.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Benzalkonium chloride; Cosmetic preservatives; Diazolidinyl urea; Imidazolidinyl urea; Reactive oxygen species.