A Screening System for Detection of Neurotoxic Potency of Chemicals using in vitro Model


  • Kumiai Chemical Industry Co., Ltd., Life Science Research Institute, Shizuoka, 439-0031, Japan


Background: The major categories of peripheral nerve injury (neuropathy) are generally neuronopathy, axonopathy and myelinopathy. Numerous chemicals are known to cause neuropathy, and the exact mechanism of neuronal toxicity is not known for the majority of chemicals. It is expected that the elucidation of the underlying mechanism of chemicals-induced peripheral neuropathy may lead to its prevention and treatment. Objective: The aim of this study is whether the type of neurotoxicity induced by pravastatin, colchicine, amiodarone, cisplatin, and CoCl2 can be identified by using the in vitro model. Materials and Methods: The cytotoxicity was performed in Neuro-2a neural cells. The levels of DNA fragmentation and the mRNA and protein levels of Bax and Bcl2 were used as apoptosis markers. To evaluate the axon damage, the extracellular phosphorylated neurofilament heavy chain (pNF-H) was investigated by Western blotting. Results: The half of cytotoxic concentration of pravastatin, colchicine, amiodarone, cisplatin and CoCl2 were 19.69 μM, 109.2 nM, 11.89 μM, 5.54 μM and 337.3 μM, respectively. To investigate morphological changes of Neuro-2a exposed to neurotoxic chemicals, Neuro-2a neural cells were incubated with 10 μM pravastatin, 100 nM colchicine, 10 μM amiodarone, 1 μM cisplatin, or 300 μM CoCl2, and evaluated by immunofluorescence assay. Pravastatin, colchicine and cisplatin significantly decreased the axon length. DNA fragmentation and apoptosis-related genes were investigated. Cisplatin significantly increased the degree of fragmentation and the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2. The protein levels of pNF-H in both supernatants and cell lysates were evaluated. The levels of pNF-H in the supernatant of pravastatin-treated, colchicine-treated, and CoCl2-treated cells were higher than in that of vehicle-treated cells. Conclusion: The neuronopathy and axonopathy induced by chemicals could be determined by the evaluation of the levels of apoptosis marker and extracellular pNF-H in Neuro-2a neural cells, respectively.


Apoptosis, Neuro-2a, Neuropathy, Phosphorylated Neurofilament Heavy Chain, Statin

Subject Discipline

toxicicology; neurotoxicology

Full Text:


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