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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2017 Oct 14;492(2):218-223. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2017.08.054. Epub 2017 Aug 17.

Exposure to nano-size titanium dioxide causes oxidative damages in human mesothelial cells: The crystal form rather than size of particle contributes to cytotoxicity.

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Department of Hygienic Chemistry, Meiji Pharmaceutical University, 2-522-1 Noshio, Kiyose, Tokyo 204-8588, Japan.
Department of Basic Science, Educational and Research Center for Pharmacy, Meiji Pharmaceutical University, 2-522-1 Noshio, Kiyose, Tokyo 204-8588, Japan.
Department of Analytical Biochemistry, Meiji Pharmaceutical University, 2-522-1 Noshio, Kiyose, Tokyo 204-8588, Japan. Electronic address:


Exposure to nanoparticles such as carbon nanotubes has been shown to cause pleural mesothelioma similar to that caused by asbestos, and has become an environmental health issue. Not only is the percutaneous absorption of nano-size titanium dioxide particles frequently considered problematic, but the possibility of absorption into the body through the pulmonary route is also a concern. Nevertheless, there are few reports of nano-size titanium dioxide particles on respiratory organ exposure and dynamics or on the mechanism of toxicity. In this study, we focused on the morphology as well as the size of titanium dioxide particles. In comparing the effects between nano-size anatase and rutile titanium dioxide on human-derived pleural mesothelial cells, the anatase form was shown to be actively absorbed into cells, producing reactive oxygen species and causing oxidative damage to DNA. In contrast, we showed for the first time that the rutile form is not easily absorbed by cells and, therefore, does not cause oxidative DNA damage and is significantly less damaging to cells. These results suggest that with respect to the toxicity of titanium dioxide particles on human-derived mesothelial cells, the crystal form rather than the particle size has a greater effect on cellular absorption. Also, it was indicated that the difference in absorption is the primary cause of the difference in the toxicity against mesothelial cells.


Crystal form; Cytotoxicity; Nanoparticle; Oxidative damage; Pleural mesothelial cell; Titanium dioxide

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