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PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e25767. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025767. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

Ameliorative effects of dimetylthiourea and N-acetylcysteine on nanoparticles induced cyto-genotoxicity in human lung cancer cells-A549.

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  • 1Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, Lucknow, India.


We study the ameliorative potential of dimetylthiourea (DMTU), an OH• radical trapper and N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a glutathione precursor/H₂O₂ scavenger against titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO₂-NPs) and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) induced cyto-genotoxicity in cultured human lung cancer cells-A549. Cytogenotoxicity was induced by exposing the cells to selected concentrations (10 and 50 µg/ml) of either of TiO₂-NPs or MWCNTs for 24 h. Anti-cytogenotoxicity effects of DMTU and NAC were studied in two groups, i.e., treatment of 30 minutes prior to toxic insult (short term exposure), while the other group received DMTU and NAC treatment during nanoparticles exposure, i.e., 24 h (long term exposure). Investigations were carried out for cell viability, generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), micronuclei (MN), and expression of markers of oxidative stress (HSP27, CYP2E1), genotoxicity (P⁵³) and CYP2E1 dependent n- nitrosodimethylamine-demethylase (NDMA-d) activity. In general, the treatment of both DMTU and NAC was found to be effective significantly against TiO₂-NPs and MWCNTs induced cytogenotoxicity in A549 cells. Long-term treatment of DMTU and NAC during toxic insults has shown better prevention than short-term pretreatment. Although, cells responded significantly to both DMTU and NAC, but responses were chemical specific. In part, TiO₂-NPs induced toxic responses were mediated through OH• radicals generation and reduction in the antioxidant defense system. While in the case of MWCNTs, adverse effects were primarily due to altering/hampering the enzymatic antioxidant system. Data indicate the applicability of human lung cancer cells-A549 as a pre-screening tool to identify the target specific prophylactic and therapeutic potential of drugs candidate molecules against nanoparticles induced cellular damages.

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