Ozone at low concentrations does not affect motility and proliferation of cancer cells in vitro
Exposure to low ozone concentrations is used in medicine as an adjuvant/complementary treatment for a variety of diseases. The therapeutic potential of low ozone concentrations relies on their capability to increase the nuclear translocation of the Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), thus inducing the transcription of Antioxidant Response Elements (ARE)-driven genes and, through a cascade of events, a general cytoprotective response. However, based on the controversial role of Nrf2 in cancer initiation, progression and resistance to therapies, possible negative effects of ozone therapy may be hypothesised in oncological patients. With the aim to elucidate the possible changes in morphology, migration capability and proliferation of cancer cells following mild ozone exposure, we performed wound healing experiments in vitro on HeLa cells treated with low ozone concentrations currently used in the clinical practice. By combining a multimodal microscopy approach (light and fluorescence microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy) with morphometric analyses, we demonstrated that, under our experimental conditions, exposure to low ozone concentrations does not alter cytomorphology, motility and proliferation features, thus supporting the notion that ozone therapy should not positively affect tumour cell growth and metastasis.
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