Oxidative stress and apoptosis induced by titanium dioxide nanoparticles in cultured BEAS-2B cells

Eun Jung Park, Jongheop Yi, Kyu Hyuck Chung, Doug Young Ryu, Jinhee Choi, Kwangsik Park

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480 Scopus citations


As the applications of industrial nanoparticles are being developed, the concerns on the environmental health are increasing. Cytotoxicities of titanium dioxide nanoparticles of different concentrations (5, 10, 20 and 40 μg/ml) were evaluated in this study using a cultured human bronchial epithelial cell line, BEAS-2B. Exposure of the cultured cells to nanoparticles led to cell death, reactive oxygen species (ROS) increase, reduced glutathione (GSH) decrease, and the induction of oxidative stress-related genes such as heme oxygenase-1, thioredoxin reductase, glutathione-S-transferase, catalase, and a hypoxia inducible gene. The ROS increase by titanium dioxide nanoparticles triggered the activation of cytosolic caspase-3 and chromatin condensation, which means that titanium dioxide nanoparticles exert cytotoxicity by an apoptotic process. Furthermore, the expressions of inflammation-related genes such as interleukin-1 (IL-1), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-8 (IL-8), TNF-a, and C-X-C motif ligand 2 (CXCL2) were also elevated. The induction of IL-8 by titanium dioxide nanoparticles was inhibited by the pre-treatment with SB203580 and PD98059, which means that the IL-8 was induced through p38 mitogen-acitvated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway and/or extracellular signal (ERK) pathway. Uptake of the nanoparticles into the cultured cells was observed and titanium dioxide nanoparticles seemed to penetrate into the cytoplasm and locate in the peri-region of the nucleus as aggregated particles, which may induce direct interactions between the particles and cellular molecules, to cause adverse biological responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-229
Number of pages8
JournalToxicology Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - 28 Aug 2008


  • Apoptosis
  • BEAS-2B cells
  • Oxidative stress
  • Titanium dioxide nanoparticles


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