The objective of this study was to assess the effects of nickel chloride on human and rainbow trout erythrocytes in vitro. The cells were incubated with 0, 0.5 and 1 mM nickel chloride for 1 h at pH 7.40 and 25°C, then K+ efflux, SO42− uptake and GSH and GSSG concentrations were measured. In both kind of cells, “high concentration” nickel treatment increased KCl efflux with respect to the control. The SO42− uptake was not significantly different at “low nickel concentration” but was lower in erythrocytes treated with 1 mM nickel chloride; the rate constant of SO42− uptake decreased by 35% in human erythrocytes and by 44% in fish erythrocytes. Nickel chloride also acts on cellular metabolism and in particular on erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase with consequent increase in oxidative stress; the data show a significant decrease in intracellular GSH in both human (25%) and fish erythrocytes (18%) after treatment with nickel chloride, with concomitantly high GSSG concentrations and lower GSH/GSSG ratios.

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