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Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 4;9(1):18287. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-54675-0.

Transcriptome changes in undifferentiated Caco-2 cells exposed to food-grade titanium dioxide (E171): contribution of the nano- and micro- sized particles.

Author information

1
Department of Toxicogenomics, GROW institute of Oncology and Developmental Biology, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200, MD, Maastricht, the Netherlands.
2
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, KU Leuven, Herestraat 49, box 901 3000, Leuven, Belgium.
3
Complex Tissue Regeneration (CTR), Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine (MERLN), Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200, MD, Maastricht, the Netherlands.
4
Department of Toxicogenomics, GROW institute of Oncology and Developmental Biology, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200, MD, Maastricht, the Netherlands. j.briede@maastrichtuniversity.nl.

Abstract

The food additive titanium dioxide (TiO2), or E171, is a white food colorant. Recent studies showed after E171 ingestion a significantly increased number of colorectal tumours in a colorectal cancer mouse model as well as inflammatory responses and dysregulation of the immune system in the intestine of rats. In the mouse colon, E171 induced gene expression changes related to oxidative stress, impairment of the immune system, activation of signalling and cancer-related processes. E171 comprises nanoparticles (NPs) and microparticles (MPs). Previous in vitro studies showed that E171, NPs and MPs induced oxidative stress responses, DNA damage and micronuclei formation. This study aimed to investigate the relative contribution of the NPs and MPs to effects of E171 at the transcriptome level in undifferentiated Caco-2 cells by genome wide microarray analysis. The results showed that E171, NPs, and MPs induce gene expression changes related to signalling, inflammation, immune system, transport and cancer. At the pathway level, metabolism of proteins with the insulin processing pathway and haemostasis were specific to E171 exposure. The gene expression changes associated with the immune system and inflammation induced by E171, MPs, and NPs suggest the creation of a favourable environment for colon cancer development.

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