Back to Journals » International Journal of Nanomedicine » Volume 10 » Issue 1

Effects of zinc oxide nanoparticles on Kupffer cell phagosomal motility, bacterial clearance, and liver function

Authors Watson C, Molina R, Louzada A, Murdaugh K, Donaghey T, Brain J

Received 13 February 2015

Accepted for publication 16 April 2015

Published 26 June 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 4173—4184


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Thomas J. Webster

Christa Y Watson, Ramon M Molina, Andressa Louzada, Kimberly M Murdaugh, Thomas C Donaghey, Joseph D Brain

Center for Nanotechnology and Nanotoxicology, Molecular and Integrative Physiological Sciences Program, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA

Background: Zinc oxide engineered nanoparticles (ZnO ENPs) have potential as nanomedicines due to their inherent properties. Studies have described their pulmonary impact, but less is known about the consequences of ZnO ENP interactions with the liver. This study was designed to describe the effects of ZnO ENPs on the liver and Kupffer cells after intravenous (IV) administration.
Materials and methods: First, pharmacokinetic studies were conducted to determine the tissue distribution of neutron-activated 65ZnO ENPs post-IV injection in Wistar Han rats. Then, a noninvasive in vivo method to assess Kupffer cell phagosomal motility was employed using ferromagnetic iron particles and magnetometry. We also examined whether prior IV injection of ZnO ENPs altered Kupffer cell bactericidal activity on circulating Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Serum and liver tissues were collected to assess liver-injury biomarkers and histological changes, respectively.
Results: We found that the liver was the major site of initial uptake of 65ZnO ENPs. There was a time-dependent decrease in tissue levels of 65Zn in all organs examined, reflecting particle dissolution. In vivo magnetometry showed a time-dependent and transient reduction in Kupffer cell phagosomal motility. Animals challenged with P. aeruginosa 24 hours post-ZnO ENP injection showed an initial (30 minutes) delay in vascular bacterial clearance. However, by 4 hours, IV-injected bacteria were cleared from the blood, liver, spleen, lungs, and kidneys. Seven days post-ZnO ENP injection, creatine phosphokinase and aspartate aminotransferase levels in serum were significantly increased. Histological evidence of hepatocyte damage and marginated neutrophils were observed in the liver.
Conclusion: Administration of ZnO ENPs transiently inhibited Kupffer cell phagosomal motility and later induced hepatocyte injury, but did not alter bacterial clearance from the blood or killing in the liver, spleen, lungs, or kidneys. Our data show that diminished Kupffer cell organelle motion correlated with ZnO ENP-induced liver injury.

Keywords: magnetometry, engineered nanoparticles, liver, Kupffer cells, zinc oxide

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]