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Acta Biochim Pol. 2010;57(3):355-60. Epub 2010 Sep 11.

Depletion of intracellular glutathione and increased lipid peroxidation mediate cytotoxicity of hematite nanoparticles in MRC-5 cells.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Biology, University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania.


Particles generated from numerous anthropogenic and/or natural sources, such as crystalline α-Fe₂O₃ nanoparticles, have the potential to damage lung cells. In our study we investigated the effects of these nanoparticles (12.5 µg/ml) on lipid peroxidation and the antioxidative system in MRC-5 lung fibroblast cells following exposure for 24, 48 or 72h. Exposure to α-Fe₂O₃ nanoparticles increased lipid peroxidation by 81%, 189% and 110% after 24, 48 and 72h, respectively. Conversely, the reduced glutathione concentration decreased by 23.2% and 51.4% after 48 and 72h of treatment, respectively. In addition, an augmentation of the activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione transferase and glutathione reductase within the interval between 48-72h was noticed. Taking into account that the reduced glutathione level decreased and the malondialdehyde level, a lipid peroxidation product, remained highly increased up to 72h of exposure, it would appear that the MRC-5 antioxidant defense mechanisms did not efficiently counteract the oxidative stress induced by exposure to hematite nanoparticles.

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