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Cobalt ions induce chemokine secretion in a variety of systemic cell lines

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Cause for Concern!

Metal ion toxicity both locally and systemically following MoM hip replacements remains a concern. Cobalt ions have been shown to induce secretion of proinflammatory chemokines locally; however, little is known about their effect systemically. The researchers investigated the in vitro effect of cobalt ions on a variety of cell lines by measuring production of the proinflammatory chemokines IL-8 and MCP-1. Renal, gastrointestinal, and respiratory epithelium and also neutrophils and monocytes were exposed to cobalt ions at 4, 12, 24, and 48 hours.

The researchers found that cobalt ions enhanced the secretion of IL-8 and MCP-1 in renal epithelial cells, gastric and colon epithelium, monocytes and neutrophils, and small airway epithelial cells but not in alveolar cells. Secretion of IL-8 and MCP-1 was markedly elevated in renal epithelium, where a 16-fold and 7-fold increase occurred compared to controls. There was a 6-fold and 4-fold increase in IL-8 and MCP-1 secretion in colon epithelium and a 4-fold and 3-fold increase in gastric epithelium. Small airway epithelial cells showed a maximum increase in secretion of 8-fold (IL-8) and of 4-fold (MCP-1). The increase in chemokine secretion observed in alveolar cells was moderate and did not reach statistical significance. Monocytes and neutrophils showed a 2.5-fold and 2-fold increase in IL-8 secretion and a 6-fold and 4-fold increase in MCP-1 secretion at 48 and 24 hours, respectively.

My View:

These data demonstrate the potent bioactivity of cobalt ions in a variety of cell types and the potential to induce a proinflammatory response.


Acta Orthopaedica 2010; 81 (6): 756–764;  Brian M Devitt1, Joseph M Queally1, Mihai Vioreanu1, Joseph S Butler1, David Murray1, Peter P Doran1, and John M O’Byrne2; 1UCD Clinical Research Centre, UCD School of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Mater Misericordiæ University Hospital; 2Department of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital, Dublin, Ireland Correspondence: bdevitt@hotmail.com