Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Nanomedicine. 2008;3(4):533-45.

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

Author information

Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID 83209, USA.


The use of titanium dioxide (TiO(2)) 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 TiO(2) 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 TiO(2) 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, TiO(2) 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 TiO(2) 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.


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

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Dove Medical Press Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center