Chromium(III) picolinate produces chromosome damage in Chinese hamster ovary cells

Diane M. Stearns, John P. Wise, Steven R. Patierno, Karen E. Wetterhahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

209 Scopus citations


Chromium(III) complexes currently being sold as dietary supplements were tested for their ability to cause chromosomal aberrations in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Complexes were tested in soluble and particulate forms. Chromium picolinate was found to produce chromosome damage 3-fold to 18-fold above control levels for soluble doses of 0.050, 0.10, 0.50, and 1.0 mM after 24 h treatment. Particulate chromium picolinate doses of 8.0 μg/cm2 (corresponding to a 0.10 mM solublized dose) and 40 μg/cm2 (0.50 mM) produced aberrations 4-fold and 16-fold above control levels, respectively. Toxicity was measured as a decrease in plating efficiency relative to controls. The above treatments produced ≥ 86% survival for all doses except 1.0 mM chromium picolinate, which produced 69 ± 10% survival. Chromium nicotinate, nicotinic acid, and chromium(III) chloride hexahydrate did not produce chromosome damage at equivalent nontoxic doses. Damage was inferred to be caused by the picolinate ligand because picolinic acid in the absence of chromium was clastogenic. Data are evaluated in terms of their relevance to human exposure based on pharmacokinetic modeling of tissue accumulation and are discussed in terms of literature reporting toxic effects of picolinic acid.-.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1643-1649
Number of pages7
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number15
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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