A fish hepatoma cell line (PLHC-1) as a tool to study cytotoxicity and CYP1A induction properties of cellulose and wood chip extracts. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cytotoxicity and CYP1A induction properties of celluloses and wood chips were studied with a teleost liver cell line, PLHC-1. Cells were exposed to acetone extracts of celluloses produced using new bleaching techniques (elemental chlorine free, ECF; totally chlorine free, TCF) in two sulphate mills or without any bleaching (unbleached, UB) in a sulphite mill. In another set of exposures, celluloses (ECF and TCF bleached) and wood chips (from pine and birch) were collected from a sulphate mill, extracted with acetone, and the extracts used to treat the cells. After exposure, O-deethylation of 7-ethoxyresorufin (EROD, a measure of cytochrome P4501A (CYP1A) catalytic activity), and total protein content, a measure of cytotoxicity, were assayed. The presence of the CYP1A protein in the exposed cells was assessed by immunoblotting. The cellulose and wood chip extracts were able to cause both cytotoxicity and EROD induction in the PLHC-1 cells. In the exposures conducted with the material from three different mills, the celluloses made of birch were more cytotoxic and more potent inducers of EROD activity than were the celluloses of pine. Further, UB celluloses increased EROD activity and caused cytotoxicity at lower doses than material bleached with modern bleaching techniques. In the exposures made with material from one single mill, there were no clear trends between the celluloses made of pine or birch. Wood chips of pine, however, were more cytotoxic than wood chips of birch. Especially with pine wood chips, cytotoxicity interfered with the induction of EROD activity, thus complicating the evaluation of CYP1A induction. CYP1A protein content was not detected in cells exposed to extracts of celluloses or wood chips, possibly due to low amounts of protein available for the assay. Wood and pulp processing, like bleaching, may change the chemical composition of the raw material in a way that reduces the potency for biological effects of the final product, cellulose. This could explain why both UB celluloses and wood chips were more potent in the cells than ECF or TCF bleached celluloses. In this study the PLHC-1 cell line showed its potential for use in evaluating the biological activity existing in pulp and paper mill products and raw materials. The identity and source of the compounds that were able to affect the PLHC-1 cell line remain to be determined.

publication date

  • June 1998