Hemolysis assay to predict the inflammatory activity of inhaled particles

Scope of the method

The Method relates to
  • Human health
The Method is situated in
  • Basic Research
Type of method
  • In vitro - Ex vivo
This method makes use of
  • Human derived cells / tissues / organs
Specify the type of cells/tissues/organs
human red blood cells


Method keywords
  • membranolysis
  • red blood cells
  • erythrocytes
  • absorbance
Scientific area keywords
  • inflammation
  • inhaled particles
  • lung toxicity
  • silica
Method description

The hemolysis assay remarkably predicts the inflammatory potential of inhaled particles. The capacity of particles to damage cellular membranes is a key property to predict their inflammatory potential upon inhalation. In macrophages and epithelial cells exposed to particles, alteration of the phagolysosome membrane is a key event for the activation of the inflammasome and the release of interleukin-1beta. The membranolytic activity of particles can easily be assessed after incubation with red blood cells and measurement of the level of hemoglobin release. This assay can be performed with human red blood cells.

Lab equipment


Method status
  • History of use
  • Internally validated
  • Published in peer reviewed journal

Pros, cons & Future potential

  • Easy ;
  • Cheap ;
  • Great predictivity.

This assay is mainly applicable to particles that are phagocytozed (low solubility).



Contact person

Dominique Lison


Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL)
Louvain centre for Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Brussels Region