The differentiation of urothelial cells results in normal terminally differentiated cells or by alternative pathways in low-grade or high-grade urothelial carcinomas. Treatments with traditional surgical and chemotherapeutical approaches are still inadequate and expensive, as bladder tumours are generally highly recurrent. In such situations, alternative approaches, using irradiation of the cells and nanoparticles, are promising. The ways in which urothelial cells, at different differentiation levels, respond to UV-irradiation (photolytic treatment) or to the combination of UV-irradiation and nanoparticles (photocatalytic treatment), are unknown. Here we tested cytotoxicity of UV-irradiation on (i) normal porcine urothelial cells (NPU), (ii) human low-grade urothelial cancer cells (RT4), and (iii) human high-grade urothelial cancer cells (T24). The results have shown that 1 minute of UV-irradiation is enough to kill 90% of the cells in NPU and RT4 cultures, as determined by the live/dead viability assay. On the other hand, the majority of T24 cells survived 1 minute of UV-irradiation. Moreover, even a prolonged UV-irradiation for 30 minutes killed <50% of T24 cells. When T24 cells were pre-supplemented with mesoporous TiO2 microbeads and then UV-irradiated, the viability of these high-grade urothelial cancer cells was reduced to < 10%, which points to the highly efficient cytotoxic effects of TiO2 photocatalysis. Using electron microscopy, we confirmed that the mesoporous TiO2 microbeads were internalized into T24 cells, and that the cell's ultrastructure was heavily compromised after UV-irradiation. In conclusion, our results show major differences in the sensitivity to UV-irradiation among the urothelial cells with respect to cell differentiation. To achieve an increased cytotoxicity of urothelial cancer cells, the photocatalytic approach is recommended.
2015. Vol. 14, no 3, 583-590 p.