A polyetherurethane (PU) film containing 0.1 % zinc diethyldithiocarbamate (ZDEC) is the international standard reference material for testing the in vitro cytotoxicity of polymer based biomaterials. Nowadays, culturing L929 or BALB/3T3 cells in direct contact or in an extract dilution condition is the most frequently using method for evaluating the cytotoxicity from biomaterials and medical devices. However, the results often vary, because it is directly related to the cellular functions and the mechanism of the toxicity of the contacting cells. In this study, 13 cell lines originating from various tissues were used to detect the cytotoxic activities of a PU film containing 0.1% ZDEC (PU-ZDEC). The correlation between the reactivity zone size and the relative cytotoxicity by quantifying the released total protein from each cell in the direct contact testing method was investigated. Hepa-1c17 cells demonstrated the highest sensitivity in the reactivity zone size, while CHO/dhFr(-) cells were the most sensitive in terms of the relative cytotoxicity. A correlation between the two processes in each cell line was not found (r=-0.478). In the extract dilution method, which involved cultivating the cells in the medium with various ZDEC concentrations prepared by diluting the PU incubation, the cytotoxicity increased with increasing ZDEC concentration in all cell lines. The BALB/3T3 cells demonstrated the highest sensitivity in the extract dilution method. No correlation in a comparison of the relative cytotoxicity from the direct contact method with the extract dilution method in each cell line, was found (r=-0.445). In this experiment, Hepa-1c1c7, BALB/3T3, CHO/dhFr(-) and L-929 cells among the 13 types of cell lines were the sensitive cell lines according to the two methods. The preliminary results suggest that a comparison of at least one or more cyrotoxicity testing methods and many cell lines is necessary for an in vitro cytotoxicity test of biomaterials.
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