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Effects of size and surface of zinc oxide and aluminum-doped zinc oxide nanoparticles on cell viability inferred by proteomic analyses

Authors Pan CH, Liu WT, Bien MY, Lin IC, Hsiao TC, Ma CM, Lai CH, Chen MC, Chuang KJ, Chuang HC

Received 22 April 2014

Accepted for publication 25 May 2014

Published 2 August 2014 Volume 2014:9(1) Pages 3631—3643

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S66651

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Chih-Hong Pan,1,2,* Wen-Te Liu,3,4,* Mauo-Ying Bien,4,5 I-Chan Lin,6 Ta-Chih Hsiao,7 Chih-Ming Ma,8 Ching-Huang Lai,2 Mei-Chieh Chen,9 Kai-Jen Chuang,10,11 Hsiao-Chi Chuang3,4

On behalf of the Taiwan CardioPulmonary Research (T-CPR) Group

1Institute of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health, Ministry of Labor, 2School of Public Health, National Defense Medical Center, 3Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Shuang Ho Hospital, 4School of Respiratory Therapy, College of Medicine, 5Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Taipei Medical University Hospital, 6Department of Ophthalmology, Shuang Ho Hospital, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, 7Graduate Institute of Environmental Engineering, National Central University, Taoyuan, 8Department of Cosmetic Application and Management, St Mary’s Junior College of Medicine, Nursing and Management, Sanxing, 9Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine, 10Department of Public Health, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, 11School of Public Health, College of Public Health and Nutrition, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Although the health effects of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnONPs) on the ­respiratory system have been reported, the fate, potential toxicity, and mechanisms in biological cells of these particles, as related to particle size and surface characteristics, have not been well elucidated. To determine the physicochemical properties of ZnONPs that govern cytotoxicity, we investigated the effects of size, electronic properties, zinc concentration, and pH on cell viability using human alveolar-basal epithelial A549 cells as a model. We observed that a 2-hour or longer exposure to ZnONPs induced changes in cell viability. The alteration in cell viability was associated with the zeta potentials and pH values of the ZnONPs. Proteomic profiling of A549 exposed to ZnONPs for 2 and 4 hours was used to determine the biological mechanisms of ZnONP toxicity. p53-pathway activation was the core mechanism regulating cell viability in response to particle size. Activation of the Wnt and TGFß signaling pathways was also important in the cellular response to ZnONPs of different sizes. The cadherin and Wnt signaling pathways were important cellular mechanisms triggered by surface differences. These results suggested that the size and surface characteristics of ZnONPs might play an important role in their observed cytotoxicity. This approach facilitates the design of more comprehensive systems for the evaluation of nanoparticles.

Keywords: aluminium-doped zinc oxide, nanoparticle, pH, toxicology, WNT pathway, zeta potential

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