Fluoride Action Network



  • DNA damage was caused by fluorosilicic acid in human osteoblast cells.
  • DNA damage was caused by cotinine in human osteoblast cells.
  • Fluorosilicic acid combined with cotinine increases DNA damage.
  • Fluorosilicic acid reduces the telomere length.
  • Oxidative stress was induced by fluorosilicic acid and cotinine.


Skeletal fluorosis is a severe case in which bone deformations and bone tissue weakening occur due to excessive fluorine deposition. Recently, data on smoking have been published that smoke constituents can indirectly influence bone mass and interfere in the metabolism of fluorides in humans. Thus, the present in vitro study aimed to assess the genetic instability in human osteoblast MG63 cells exposed to fluorosilicic acid (FA) and cotinine (COT), separately and in combination, in concentrations found in human plasma. For this, cell cytotoxicity was performed by MTT assay; DNA damage was performed by alkaline comet assay (CA), modified by repair endonucleases (+FPG); micronuclei test (MN) using CBMN-Cyt assay; and telomere length (TL) by qPCR in MG63 cells. No cytotoxicity was observed for all concentrations tested in this study. Alkaline CA results showed a significant increase in DNA damage at all FA concentrations (0.03125–0.300 mg/L), in the two highest concentrations of COT (125 and 250 ng/mL), and the highest concentration of FA+COT (0.300 mg/L+250 ng/mL). Alkaline CA+FPG test was used to detect oxidized nucleobases, which occurred at the two highest concentrations of FA, COT, and FA+COT. Micronuclei test showed an increase in the frequency of MN at all concentrations of FA (0.075–0.300 mg/L) except in the lowest concentration (0.03125 mg/L), in the two highest concentrations of COT (125 and 250 ng/mL), and all concentrations of FA+COT. There was no significant difference in nuclear division index, binucleated cells, nucleoplasmic bridge, and nuclear bud. A TL reduction was observed in cells treated with the highest concentrations of FA alone (0.300 mg/L) and FA+COT (0.300 mg/L+250 ng/mL). Finally, our study showed that FA and COT (mainly alone) at concentrations found in human plasma induced oxidative damage and genetic instability in human osteoblast cells.


DNA damage
Fluorosilicic acid
Human osteoblast cells
Telomere length