Impact of agglomeration and different dispersions of titanium dioxide nanoparticles on the human related in vitro cytotoxicity and genotoxicity
The published results on nanoparticles cytotoxicity and genotoxicity such as titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2 NPs) are inconsistent, and often conflicting and insufficient. Since different parameters may have impact on the toxicity results, there is need to lay stress on detailed characterisation of NPs and the use of different testing conditions for assessment of NPs toxicity. In order to investigate whether dispersion procedures influence NP cytotoxicity and genotoxicity, the authors compared two protocols giving TiO2 NPs dispersions with different stability and agglomeration states. Detailed primary and secondary characteristics of both TiO2 NP dispersions in culture media were carried out before toxicology testing; TK6 human lymphoblast cells, EUE human embryonic epithelial cells and Cos-1 monkey kidney fibroblasts were used to assess cytotoxicity (by trypan blue exclusion, proliferation activity and plating efficiency assays) and genotoxicity (by the comet assay). DNA strand breaks were detected by the alkaline comet assay. DNA oxidation lesions (especially 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanine, 8-oxoG) were measured with a modified comet assay including incubation with specific repair enzyme formamidopyrimidine DNA glycosylase (FPG). The TiO2 NPs dispersion with large agglomerates (3 min sonication and no serum in stock solution) induced DNA damage in all three cell lines, while the TiO2 NPs dispersed with agglomerates less than 200 nm (foetal serum in stock solution and sonication 15 min) had no effect on genotoxicity. An increased level of DNA oxidation lesions detected in Cos-1 and TK6 cells indicates that the leading mechanism by which TiO2 NPs trigger genotoxicity is most likely oxidative stress. The authors concluded that the results show that the dispersion method used can influence the results of toxicity studies. Therefore at least two different dispersion procedures should be incorporated into assessment of cyto- and genotoxic effects of NPs. It is important, when assessing the hazard associated with NPs, to establish standard testing procedures and thorough strategies to consider the diverse conditions relevant to possible exposures.