• chlorhexidine;
  • macrophages;
  • cytotoxicity;
  • genotoxicity;
  • reactive oxygen species

Chlorhexidine (CHX) is the most widely used antiseptic for wound, skin disinfection, and dental hygiene. The aim of this study is to investigate the possible correlation between CHX-induced cytogenotoxicity and alterations in normal cell cycle on RAW264.7 macrophages. The cytotoxicity, mechanism of cell death, mitotic activity, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation were determined by tetrazolium bromide reduction assay, flow cytometry, cytokinesis-block proliferation index, and superoxide dismutase-inhibitable reduction of ferricytochrome c, respectively. The genotoxicity was measured using comet assay and cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay. The cytotoxicity of CHX in RAW264.7 cells presented a dose- and time-dependent manner (p < 0.05). The mode of cell death shifted from apoptosis to necrosis when the dosage of CHX increased. The genotoxicity of CHX in RAW264.7 cells had shown DNA damage in a dose-dependent manner (p < 0.05). Prolongation of cell cycle and the increase of ROS generation also expressed in a dose-dependent manner (p < 0.05). Taken together, the data suggested that CHX-induced cytotoxicity and genotoxicity on macrophages may be via ROS generation. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 29: 452–458, 2014.