AAT Bioquest

What causes cytotoxicity?

Posted October 21, 2020


Cytotoxicity refers to the quality of being toxic to cells. A substance or process that results in cell damage or death is known as a cytotoxic agent. These chemical or biological cytotoxic agents cause cytotoxicity by adversely affecting the cells in varying degrees. Chemical agents may act by hampering protein or nucleic acid synthesis in the cell, by weakening the membrane in the cell or by impeding cellular energy production pathways.

Common examples of cytotoxic agents that cause cytotoxicity are T cells that kill viruses, bacteria and cancer cells. Some types of venom also cause cytotoxicity.

Additional resources

Cytotoxicity and oxidative stress caused by chemicals adsorbed on particulate matter

Cell Meter™ Colorimetric Cell Cytotoxicity Assay Kit

Cell Meter™ Fluorimetric Cell Cytotoxicity Assay Kit