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Photo of Axel Eriksson

Axel Eriksson

Associate senior lecturer

Photo of Axel Eriksson

Toxicity of stainless and mild steel particles generated from gas–metal arc welding in primary human small airway epithelial cells


  • Andrea Cediel-Ulloa
  • Christina Isaxon
  • Axel Eriksson
  • Daniel Primetzhofer
  • Mauricio A. Sortica
  • Lars Haag
  • Remco Derr
  • Giel Hendriks
  • Jakob Löndahl
  • Anders Gudmundsson
  • Karin Broberg
  • Anda R. Gliga

Summary, in English

Welding fumes induce lung toxicity and are carcinogenic to humans but the molecular mechanisms have yet to be clarified. The aim of this study was to evaluate the toxicity of stainless and mild steel particles generated via gas–metal arc welding using primary human small airway epithelial cells (hSAEC) and ToxTracker reporter murine stem cells, which track activation of six cancer-related pathways. Metal content (Fe, Mn, Ni, Cr) of the particles was relatively homogenous across particle size. The particles were not cytotoxic in reporter stem cells but stainless steel particles activated the Nrf2-dependent oxidative stress pathway. In hSAEC, both particle types induced time- and dose-dependent cytotoxicity, and stainless steel particles also increased generation of reactive oxygen species. The cellular metal content was higher for hSAEC compared to the reporter stem cells exposed to the same nominal dose. This was, in part, related to differences in particle agglomeration/sedimentation in the different cell media. Overall, our study showed differences in cytotoxicity and activation of cancer-related pathways between stainless and mild steel welding particles. Moreover, our data emphasizes the need for careful assessment of the cellular dose when comparing studies using different in vitro models.


  • Ergonomics and Aerosol Technology
  • NanoLund: Center for Nanoscience

Publishing year





Scientific Reports





Document type

Journal article


Nature Publishing Group


  • Pharmacology and Toxicology




  • ISSN: 2045-2322