Correlation of cytotoxicity with element release from mercury- and gallium-based dental alloys in vitro

Dent Mater. 1994 Sep;10(5):298-303. doi: 10.1016/0109-5641(94)90037-x.


Objectives: An in vitro screening test was used to compare the cytotoxicity and elemental release from mercury- and gallium-based dental restorative materials.

Methods: The test employed three sequential extractions of the samples into cell-culture medium which were then used to evaluate the cytotoxicity of the samples and the release of elements from the samples. Cytotoxicity was measured by placing the extract in contact with Balb/c mouse fibroblasts for 24 h and measuring the succinic dehydrogenase activity of the cells. The release of elements was measured by means of atomic absorption spectrophotometry.

Results: Samples of Tytin (Kerr) showed no cytotoxicity compared to Teflon controls. Dispersalloy (Johnson and Johnson) was severely cytotoxic initially when Zn release was greatest, but was less toxic between 48 and 72 h as Zn release decreased. Gallium Alloy GF (Tokuriki Honten) was moderately cytotoxic after 8 h, and increased in cytotoxicity thereafter, which correlated with a substantial and persistent release of Ga from this material.

Significance: The results of the current study concurred with in vivo assessments of these materials, and the use of sequential extractions was useful in determining trends in the cytotoxicity and elemental release from these materials.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells / drug effects
  • 3T3 Cells / enzymology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Copper / analysis
  • Copper / toxicity
  • Dental Alloys / chemistry
  • Dental Alloys / toxicity*
  • Dental Amalgam / chemistry
  • Dental Amalgam / toxicity
  • Gallium / analysis
  • Gallium / toxicity*
  • Indium / analysis
  • Indium / toxicity
  • Materials Testing
  • Mercury / analysis
  • Mercury / toxicity
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Palladium / analysis
  • Palladium / toxicity
  • Silver / analysis
  • Silver / toxicity
  • Spectrophotometry, Atomic
  • Succinate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Zinc / analysis
  • Zinc / toxicity


  • Dental Alloys
  • Indium
  • Dispersalloy
  • Silver
  • Palladium
  • tytin
  • Copper
  • Dental Amalgam
  • Gallium
  • Succinate Dehydrogenase
  • Mercury
  • Zinc