Intestinal injury assessment of hexavalent chromium (Cr-VI) in humans is crucial for quantifying assessment of adverse health risk posed by the intake of Cr (VI)-contaminated water. To overcome the deficiency in simulating human gastric reduction and intestinal absorption, we modified the constituents of simulated gastric fluid in in vitro digestion method by adding reductants glutathione (18 μM) and ascorbic acid (180 μM), which incorporated with human intestinal epithelial model to construct an in vitro gastrointestinal digestion (IVGD) model for intestinal injury assessment. Cr-VI bioaccessibility results from IVGD model showed that weak gastric acidity significantly increased the intestinal accessible Cr-VI dose by 22.41–38.43 folds. The time-course intestinal absorption indicated prolongation of intestinal exposure destroyed the intestinal epithelium, and 24 h after Cr-VI treatment was a good time point to perform intestinal absorption and toxicity assessment. A series of cell-based bioassays provided initial warning of adverse effect, suggesting that epithelial integrity exhibited greatest sensitivity to Cr-VI exposure and might be used as a sensitive marker for the toxicity assessment of oral exposure to Cr-VI. Notably, this study provides a feasible strategy for delineation of Cr-VI biotransformation and intestinal injury following ingestion exposure, which contributes to address the toxicity data gap of low-dose exposure in humans and puts forward a reference for intestinal toxicity assessment of other chemicals.
- Hexavalent chromium
- In vitro gastrointestinal digestion model
- Intestinal injury
- Oral exposure
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