Elevated Ca2+i transients induced by trimethyltin chloride in HeLa cells: Types and levels of response

Ana Maria Florea, Elke Dopp, Dietrich Büsselberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)


Humans are exposed to organotins, like trimethyltin (TMT) chloride via air, water and food, and intoxication might result in severe health complications. Toxic effects of organotin compounds are well documented, but possible mechanisms remain unclear and only little information is available how organometallic species interact with calcium controlling mechanisms. Therefore, the aim of this work was to investigate the effects of TMT on calcium homeostasis in HeLa S3 cells. Dynamic changes of cytosolic calcium (Ca2+i) were monitored using laser-scanning microscopy and fluo-4 loaded cells. Application of TMT resulted in sustained as well as in transient elevations of Ca2+i. The number of reacting cells was directly correlated to the concentration of TMT used: with 500 μM TMT all cells reacted, with 50 μM TMT 80% and with 5 μM 74%. The fast Ca2+i-transients (spikes), measured in single cells, occurred even with 0.25 μM TMT and varied in size and duration. The sustained increase of Ca2+i, measured as the average over all cells, was dose dependent with an ∼8% increase for 5 μM TMT, ∼12.3% for 50 μM and ∼145% for 500 μM TMT. Moreover, this effect was partly reversible. A second application resulted in a similar sustained rise of Ca2+i compared to the first application of TMT, there was also no difference when no calcium was added to the external solution (151 ± 10% compared to 145 ± 15%; 500 μM TMT). This rise of Ca2+i was highly reduced (<10% increase) when the internal calcium stores were depleted before TMT (500 μM) was applied. Our data suggest that TMT influences Ca2+i-homeostasis of HeLa S3 cells, which might be related to its toxicity in this cell line.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-258
Number of pages8
JournalCell calcium
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005



  • Calcium stores
  • Disturbance of calcium homeostasis
  • Fluo-4
  • Full screen imaging
  • HeLa S3 cells
  • Intracellular calcium elevation
  • Line scan
  • Spikes
  • TMT
  • Trimethyltin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this