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Nanotoxicology. 2013 Feb;7(1):48-60. doi: 10.3109/17435390.2011.629747. Epub 2011 Nov 2.

TiO(2) nanoparticles induce oxidative DNA damage and apoptosis in human liver cells.

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CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, Nanomaterial Toxicology Group, Lucknow-226001, Uttar Pradesh, India.


Titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO(2) NPs), widely used in consumer products, paints, pharmaceutical preparations and so on, have been shown to induce cytotoxicity, genotoxicity and carcinogenic responses in vitro and in vivo. The present study revealed that TiO(2) NPs induce significant (p < 0.05) oxidative DNA damage by the Fpg-Comet assay even at 1 µg/ml concentration. A corresponding increase in the micronucleus frequency was also observed. This could be attributed to the reduced glutathione levels with concomitant increase in lipid peroxidation and reactive oxygen species generation. Furthermore, immunoblot analysis revealed an increased expression of p53, BAX, Cyto-c, Apaf-1, caspase-9 and caspase-3 and decreased the level of Bcl-2 thereby indicating that apoptosis induced by TiO(2) NPs occurs via the caspase-dependent pathway. This study systematically shows that TiO(2) NPs induce DNA damage and cause apoptosis in HepG2 cells even at very low concentrations. Hence the use of such nanoparticles should be carefully monitored.

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