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Mutat Res. 2008 Apr 2;640(1-2):113-22. doi: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2007.12.010. Epub 2007 Dec 31.

Hydroxyl radicals (*OH) are associated with titanium dioxide (TiO(2)) nanoparticle-induced cytotoxicity and oxidative DNA damage in fish cells.

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  • 1School of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK.


TiO(2) nanoparticles (< 100 nm diameter) have been reported to cause oxidative stress related effects, including inflammation, cytotoxicity and genomic instability, either alone or in the presence of UVA irradiation in mammalian studies. Despite the fact that the aquatic environment is often the ultimate recipient of all contaminants there is a paucity of data pertaining to the potential detrimental effects of nanoparticles on aquatic organisms. Therefore, these investigations aimed to evaluate the potential cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of TiO(2) nanoparticles on goldfish skin cells (GFSk-S1), either alone or in combination with UVA. Whilst neutral red retention (NRR) assay (a measure of lysosomal membrane integrity) was used to evaluate cell viability, a modified Comet assay using bacterial lesion-specific repair endonucleases (Endo-III, Fpg) was employed to specifically target oxidative DNA damage. Additionally, electron spin resonance (ESR) studies with different spin traps were carried out for qualitative analysis of free radical generation. For cell viability, TiO(2) alone (0.1-1000 microg ml(-1)) had little effect whereas co-exposure with UVA (0.5-2.0 kJm(-2)) caused a significant dose-dependent decrease which was dependent on both the concentration of TiO(2) and the dose of UVA administered. For the Comet assay, doses of 1, 10 and 100 microg ml(-1) in the absence of UVA caused elevated levels of Fpg-sensitive sites, indicating the oxidation of purine DNA bases (i.e. guanine) by TiO(2). UVA irradiation of TiO(2)-treated cells caused further increases in DNA damage. ESR studies revealed that the observed toxic effects of nanoparticulate TiO(2) were most likely due to hydroxyl radical (OH) formation.

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