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Toxicol Lett. 2009 Mar 28;185(3):211-8.

DNA damaging potential of zinc oxide nanoparticles in human epidermal cells.

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Developmental Toxicology Division, Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, (Formerly- Industrial Toxicology Research Centre), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Mahatma Gandhi Marg, P.O. Box 80, Lucknow 226001, Uttar Pradesh, India.


At present, more than 20 countries worldwide are manufacturing and marketing different varieties of nanotech-based consumer products of which cosmetics form the largest category. Due to the extremely small size of the nanoparticles (NPs) being used, there is a concern that they may interact directly with macromolecules such as DNA. The present study was aimed to assess the genotoxicity of zinc oxide (ZnO) NPs, one of the widely used ingredients of cosmetics, and other dermatological preparations in human epidermal cell line (A431). A reduction in cell viability as a function of both NP concentration as well as exposure time was observed. ZnO NPs demonstrated a DNA damaging potential as evident from an increased Olive tail moment (OTM) of 2.13 +/- 0.12 (0.8 g/ml) compared to control 1.37 +/- 0.12 in the Comet assay after an exposure of 6 h. ZnO NPs were also found to induce oxidative stress in cells indicated by depletion of glutathione (59% and 51%); catalase (64% and 55%) and superoxide dismutase (72% and 75%) at 0.8 and 0.08 g/ml respectively. Our data demonstrates that ZnO NPs even at low concentrations possess a genotoxic potential in human epidermal cells which may be mediated through lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress. Hence, caution should be taken in their use in dermatological preparations as well as while handling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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