TiO2 nanoparticle-induced ROS correlates with modulated immune cell function

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6 Scopus citations


Design of non-toxic nanoparticles will be greatly facilitated by understanding the nanoparticlecell interaction mechanism on a cell function level. Mast cells are important cells for the immune system's first line of defense, and we can utilize their exocytotic behavior as a model cellular function as it is a conserved process across cell types and species. Perturbations in exocytosis can also have implications for whole organism health. One proposed mode of toxicity is nanoparticle-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS), particularly for titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles. Herein, we have correlated changes in ROS with the perturbation of the critical cell function of exocytosis, using UV light to induce greater levels of ROS in TiO2 exposed cells. The primary culture mouse peritoneal mast cells (MPMCs) were exposed to varying concentrations of TiO2 nanoparticles for 24 h. ROS content was determined using 2,7-dihydrodichlorofluorescein diacetate (DCFDA). Cellular viability was determined with the MTT and Trypan blue assays, and exocytosis was measured by the analytical electrochemistry technique of carbon-fiber microelectrode amperometry. MPMCs exposed to TiO2 nanoparticles experienced a dose-dependent increase in total ROS content. While there was minimal impact of ROS on cellular viability, there is a correlation between ROS amount and exocytosis perturbation. As nanoparticle-induced ROS increases, there is a significant decrease (45 %) in the number of serotonin molecules being released during exocytosis, increase (26 %) in the amount of time for each exocytotic granule to release, and decrease (28 %) in the efficiency of granule trafficking and docking. This is the first evidence that nanoparticle-induced ROS correlates with chemical messenger molecule secretion, possibly making a critical connection between functional impairment and mechanisms contributing to that impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1291
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We acknowledge Sarah Connolly, a summer research undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, for her work on developing ROS assay protocols; and Diana Freeman for her help in isolating the MPMCs. This research was financially supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (CHE-0645041) and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship awarded to M.A.M.-J.


  • Exocytosis
  • Nanotoxicity
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Titanium dioxide


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