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24-01-2010 | Gynaecology | Article

Genotoxic, cytotoxic endometrial effects linked to copper IUD


Journal abstract

MedWire News: Copper dissolution, after the initial insertion of a copper (Cu)-intrauterine device (IUD), may result in cytotoxic and genotoxic effects on surrounding endometrial cells, suggest study findings.

Studies have shown increased copper concentrations in uterine fluid from Cu-IUD users up to 12 months after insertion, with in vitro studies showing 10-fold and two-fold higher copper concentrations after 1 and 30 days, respectively, compared with after 6 months.

The team therefore evaluated the potential cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of clinically relevant concentrations of copper ions (1.56-28.62 mg/l) on Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO-K1) using colorimetric tetrazolium/Trypan blue (TB) tests and the Comet assay.

Mitochondrial activity was significantly reduced by copper ion concentrations of at least 7.42 mg/l, with concentrations of 10.85 mg/l or more resulting in a decrease in cell viability of more than 80 percent. Furthermore, the TB exclusion test for plasma membrane integrity showed a 90 percent decrease in cell viability for concentrations of at least 10.85 mg/l.

The researchers also found that exposing CHO-K1 cells to copper at concentrations of between 5.67 and 7.42 mg/l induced genotoxic DNA damage.

“Our findings emphasize the importance of reducing the initial burst effect of copper ions from IUDs,” say Monica Fernandez Lorenzo de Mele (Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina) and colleagues.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Ingrid Grasmo