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Exposure to titanium dioxide and other metallic oxide nanoparticles induces cytotoxicity on human neural cells and fibroblasts

Authors Lai JCK, Lai MB, Jandhyam S, Dukhande VV, Bhushan A, Daniels CK, Leung SW

Published 5 December 2008 Volume 2008:3(4) Pages 533—545


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

James C K Lai1, Maria B Lai1, Sirisha Jandhyam1, Vikas V Dukhande1, Alok Bhushan1, Christopher K Daniels1, Solomon W Leung2

1Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, and Biomedical Research Institute; 2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering and Biomedical Research Institute, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID, USA

Abstract: The use of titanium dioxide (TiO2) in various industrial applications (eg, production of paper, plastics, cosmetics, and paints) has been expanding thereby increasing the occupational and other environmental exposure of these nanoparticles to humans and other species. However, the health effects of exposure to TiO2 nanoparticles have not been systematically assessed even though recent studies suggest that such exposure induces inflammatory responses in lung tissue and cells. Because the effects of such nanoparticles on human neural cells are unknown, we have determined the putative cytotoxic effects of these nanoparticles on human astrocytes-like astrocytoma U87 cells and compared their effects on normal human fibroblasts. We found that TiO2 micro- and nanoparticles induced cell death on both human cell types in a concentration-related manner. We further noted that zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles were the most effective, TiO2 nanoparticles the second most effective, and magnesium oxide (MgO) nanoparticles the least effective in inducing cell death in U87 cells. The cell death mechanisms underlying the effects of TiO2 micro- and nanoparticles on U87 cells include apoptosis, necrosis, and possibly apoptosis-like and necrosis-like cell death types. Thus, our findings may have toxicological and other pathophysiological implications on exposure of humans and other mammalian species to metallic oxide nanoparticles.

Keywords: cytotoxicity of titanium dioxide micro- and nanoparticles, cytotoxicity of zinc oxide and magnesium oxide nanoparticles, human neural cells, human fibroblasts, nanotoxicity, cell death mechanisms

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