Species-specific differences in the toxicity of rhodamine 123 toward cultured mammalian cells
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The toxicity of cationic fluorescent dye, rhodamine 123, towards a number of independently established cell lines from three different species, namely human, mouse, and Chinese hamster, has been examined. All of the cell lines from any one species that were examined were found to exhibit similar sensitivities towards rhodamine 123 and no appreciable differences were observed between the normal and transformed cell types. However, in comparison to the cells of human origin, mouse and Chinese hamster cell lines exhibited about 10-fold and 70-fold higher resistance, respectively, and these differences appeared to be species related. In contrast to rhodamine 123, no differences in relative toxicities for these cell lines were observed for the structurally related neutral dye, rhodamine B. Fluorescence studies with rhodamine 123 show that in comparison to mouse and Chinese hamster cells, the more sensitive human cells show much higher uptake/binding of the drug, and a good correlation was seen in these studies between the extent of dye uptake/binding and the relative sensitivities of cell lines to rhodamine 123. These results provide evidence that the observed species-related differences in cellular toxicities are due to differences in the cellular uptake/binding of the dye.