Ella Goldenberg

University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

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Publications (8)11.04 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Ambient airborne particulate matter is known to cause various adverse health effects in humans. In a recent study on the environmental impacts of coal and tire combustion in a thermal power station fine crystals of PbSO4 (anglesite), ZnSO4•H2O (gunningite), and CaSO4 (anhydrite) were identified in the stack emissions. Here, we have studied the toxic potential of these sulfate phases as particulates and their uptake in human alveolar epithelial cells (A549). Both PbSO4 and CaSO4 yielded no loss of cell viability, as determined by the WST-1 and NR assays. In contrast, a concentration-dependent increase in cytotoxicity was observed for Zn sulfate. For all analyzed sulfates, an increase in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), assessed by the DCFH-DA assay and Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR), was observed, although to a varying extent. Again, Zn sulfate was the most active compound. Genotoxicity assays revealed concentration-dependent DNA damage and induction of micronuclei for Zn sulfate and, to a lower extent, for CaSO4, whereas only slight effects could be found for PbSO4. Moreover, changes of cell cycle were observed for Zn sulfate and PbSO4. It could be shown further that Zn sulfate increased the nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) DNA binding activity and activated c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK). During our TEM investigations, no effect on the appearance of the A549 cells exposed to CaSO4 compared to the non-exposed cells was observed, and in our experiments only one CaSO4 particle was detected in the cytoplasm. In the case of exposure to Zn sulfate, no particles were found in the cytoplasm of A549 cells, but we observed a concentration-dependent increase in the number and size of dark vesicles (presumably zincosomes). After exposure to PbSO4, the A549 cells contained isolated particles as well as agglomerates both in vesicles and in the cytoplasm. Since these metal-sulfate particles are emitted into the atmosphere via the flue gas of coal-fired power stations, they may be globally abundant. Therefore, our study is of direct relevance to the population living near such power plants.
    Chemical Research in Toxicology 11/2012; · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Airborne particulate matter (PM) of varying size and composition is known to cause health problems in humans. The iron oxide Fe(3)O(4) (magnetite) may be a major anthropogenic component in ambient PM and is derived mainly from industrial sources. In the present study, we have investigated the effects of four different size fractions of magnetite on signaling pathways, free radical generation, cytotoxicity, and genotoxicity in human alveolar epithelial-like type-II cells (A549). The magnetite particles used in the exposure experiments were characterized by mineralogical and chemical techniques. Four size fractions were investigated: bulk magnetite (0.2-10 μm), respirable fraction (2-3 μm), alveolar fraction (0.5-1.0 μm), and nanoparticles (20-60 nm). After 24 h of exposure, the A549 cells were investigated by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to study particle uptake. TEM images showed an incorporation of magnetite particles in A549 cells by endocytosis. Particles were found as agglomerates in cytoplasm-bound vesicles, and few particles were detected in the cytoplasm but none in the nucleus. Increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), as determined by the 2',7'-dichlorfluorescein-diacetate assay (DCFH-DA), as well as genotoxic effects, as measured by the cytokinesis block-micronucleus test and the Comet assay, were observed for all of the studied fractions after 24 h of exposure. Moreover, activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK) without increased nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB)-binding activity but delayed IκB-degradation was observed. Interestingly, pretreatment of cells with magnetite and subsequent stimulation with the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) led to a reduction of NF-κB DNA binding compared to that in stimulation with TNFα alone. Altogether, these experiments suggest that ROS formation may play an important role in the genotoxicity of magnetite in A549 cells but that activation of JNK seems to be ROS-independent.
    Chemical Research in Toxicology 07/2011; 24(9):1460-75. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Until now, the adverse effects of toner powders on humans have been considered to be minimal. However, several recent reports have suggested possible significant adverse health effects from toner dust inhalation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the genotoxic potential of black toner powders in vitro. For the study of DNA damage, A549 cells were exposed to toner-powder suspensions and to their DMSO extracts, and then subjected to the comet assay and to the in-vitro cytokinesis block micronucleus test (CB-MNvit). Cytotoxic effects of the toner samples were assessed by the erythrosin B assay. Furthermore, size, shape, and composition of the toner powders were investigated. None of the three toner powders or their DMSO extracts reduced cell viability; however, they did induce DNA damage and formed micronuclei at concentrations from 80 to 400 μg cm(-2) , although to a varying extent. All toner powders contain considerable amounts of the pigments carbon black and magnetite (Fe(3) O(4) ) as well as small amounts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The overall results of our in-vitro study suggest that the investigated toner-powder samples are not cytotoxic but genotoxic. From the results of the physical and chemical characterization, we conclude that metals and metalloids as components of magnetite, or PAHs as components of the carbon-bearing material, are responsible for the genotoxic effects. Further research is necessary to determine the relevance of these in-vitro observations for private and occupational toner powder exposure.
    Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis 05/2011; 52(4):296-309. · 3.71 Impact Factor
  • Toxicology Letters - TOXICOL LETT. 01/2010; 196.
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    ABSTRACT: Methods: Three black toner powders and their suspensions were examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy in order to determine size, shape, surface structure and elemental composition of individual toner particles. Powder X-ray Diffractometry (XRD) with Cu-Kalpha radiation was used to determine the mineral phases in the toner powders. The bulk contents of selected metals and metalloids in the toner powders were determined by graphite-furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) (As, Pb, Sb, Ni, Cd) and flame AAS (Fe, Zn) after total digestion. The bulk Si concentration was determined using photometry. The content of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the toner powders was determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Results and Discussion: The toner powders consist of C-bearing, rounded to slightly elongated particles with typical diameters of 2 to 8 µm. The particle surface is somewhat rough and is covered by rounded nanoparticles (30-200 nm), which are Fe- and O-rich, as shown by EDX-spectra. The toner powders are rich in Si (60000-75000 mg/kg) and Fe (30000-280000 mg/kg) and contain considerable amounts of Ni (5-23 mg/kg), Zn (31-72 mg/kg), As (22-31 mg/kg) and Pb (0.8-1.1 mg/kg). In contrast, the DMSO extracts contain hardly any metals and metalloids. The content of most PAHs varies significantly between the three toner powders. While all toner powders showed strong (dose-dependent) effects in cytotoxicity, the genotoxic effects varied between the three toner powders (Gminski et al. in prep.). We conclude that the cytotoxic effects in A549 cells of the toners are probably linked to the presence of metals and metalloids. Moreover, we assume that the genotoxic effects may be associated with the PAHs. Which specific compounds are responsible for the toxic effects observed will be the focus of further studies. References: Gminski et al. (in prep.): Cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of three selected black toner powders and their dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) extracts in cultured human epithelial A549 lung cells in vitro. Gminski R, Decker K, Heinz Ch, Mersch-Sundermann V (2008): Cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of three representative reprographic toner dusts and their dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) extracts on cultured human
  • Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta.
  • Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta.
  • Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta.

Publication Stats

25 Citations
11.04 Total Impact Points


  • 2011
    • University of Freiburg
      Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
    • Universitätsklinikum Freiburg
      • Department of Environmental Health Sciences
      Freiburg, Lower Saxony, Germany