Integrated metabonomics analysis of the size-response relationship of silica nanoparticles-induced toxicity in mice

Xiaoyan Lu, Yu Tian, Qinqin Zhao, Tingting Jin, Shun Xiao, Xiaohui Fan

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71 Scopus citations


Understanding the underlying properties-dependent interactions of nanostructures with biological systems is essential to nanotoxicological research. This study investigates the relationship between particle size and toxicity, and further reveals the mechanism of injury, using silica particles (SP) with diameters of 30, 70, and 300 nm (SP30, SP70, and SP300) as model materials. The biochemical compositions of liver tissues and serum of mice treated with SP30, SP70, and SP300 were analyzed by integrated metabonomics analysis based on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and in combination with pattern recognition approaches. Histopathological examinations and serum biochemical analysis were simultaneously performed. The toxicity induced by three different sizes of SP mainly involved hepatocytic necrosis, increased serum aminotransferase, and inflammatory cytokines. Moreover, the toxic effects of SP were dose-dependent for each particle size. The doses of SP30, SP70, and SP300 that were toxic to the liver were 10, 40, and 200 mg kg-1, respectively. In this study, surface area has a greater effect than particle number on the toxicity of SP30, SP70, and SP300 in the liver. The disturbances in energy metabolism, amino acid metabolism, lipid metabolism, and nucleotide metabolism may be attributable to the hepatotoxicity induced by SP. In addition, no major differences were found in the response of biological systems caused by the different SP sizes among the metabolite profiles. The results suggest that not only nano-sized but also submicro-sized SP can cause similar extents of liver injury, which is dependent on the exposure dose, and the mechanism of toxicity may be almost the same.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number055101
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 4 2011


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