Homeopathy 2017; 106(02): 103-113
DOI: 10.1016/j.homp.2017.03.003
Copyright © The Faculty of Homeopathy 2017

In vitro effects of Zinc in soluble and homeopathic formulations on macrophages and astrocytes

Clara Bonafini
Marta Marzotto
Paolo Bellavite

Subject Editor:
Further Information

Publication History

Received29 July 2016
revised27 February 2017

accepted08 March 2017

Publication Date:
28 December 2017 (online)

Zinc is an important metal in body homeostasis. Zinc in soluble form (Zn2+) and homeopathic Zincum metallicum were tested in macrophages and astrocytes in order to investigate its potential toxic or therapeutic effects. We evaluated cell viability (WST assay), cytokine production such as tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin 10 (IL-10) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and nitric oxide release by Griess reaction. The effect of zinc-depletion and high zinc pre-treatments on the cell adaptation capability was also investigated. In THP-1 macrophage cell line and in human primary macrophages, Zn2+ at sub-toxic doses (30 μM) caused stimulation of TNF-α and IL-10 with different dynamics reaching the maximum peak at the zinc concentration 100 μM, before the cell death. Highest doses (300 μM) impaired dramatically cell vitality. Similar effects on cell viability were obtained also in C6 astrocytes, where Zn2+ slightly increased the nitric oxide release only in cells activated by one of the pro-inflammatory stimuli used in our cellular model (interferon gamma plus TNF-α). Zinc depletion markedly reduced IL-10 production and cell viability. Zincum metallicum did not cause toxicity in any cell type and showed some small stimulation in WST assay that was statistically significant in a few experimental conditions.