Cytotoxic actions of 2,2-dibromo-3-nitrilopropionamide, a biocide in hydraulic fracturing fluids, on rat thymocytes
2,2-Dibromo-3-nitrilopropionamide (DBNPA) is a major biocide in hydraulic fracturing fluids. Most biocides in fracturing fluids are considered to have low acute toxicity to mammals, but little information is available in the literature regarding the toxic actions of DBNPA on mammalian cells. This information is important to suggest the DBNPA toxicity on wild mammals. In this study, the effects of DBNPA on rat thymocytes were studied using flow cytometric techniques in order to further characterize the cytotoxicity of DBNPA for its safe use. DBNPA at 3–7.5 μM produced a steep concentration-dependent increase in cell lethality. At 5 μM, DBNPA significantly depolarized the membranes with a disturbance of the asymmetrical distribution of membrane phospholipids. The lethal effect of DBNPA was completely abolished under cold conditions, and was augmented in the presence of ethanol. It is suggested that the lethal action of DBNPA is linked to changes in membrane fluidity. Because the concentration-dependent change of DBNPA-induced lethal action was very steep under in vitro conditions, the adverse actions of DBNPA on wild mammals are concerning, even though such reports have not yet surfaced.