Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 88, Issue 8, pp 1607–1618 | Cite as

Magnetite- and maghemite-induced different toxicity in murine alveolar macrophage cells

  • Eun-Jung Park
  • Ha Nee Umh
  • Dong-Hyuk Choi
  • Myung Haing Cho
  • Wookhee Choi
  • Sang-Wook Kim
  • Younghun Kim
  • Jae-Ho Kim
In vitro systems


The unique properties of nanoparticles and biological systems are important factors affecting the biological response following nanoparticle exposure. Iron oxide nanoparticles are classified mainly as magnetite (M-FeNPs) and maghemite (NM-FeNPs). In our previous study, NM-FeNPs induced autophagic cell death in RAW264.7, a murine peritoneal macrophage cell line, which has excellent lysosomal activity. In this study, we compared the toxicity of M-FeNPs and NM-FeNPs in MH-S, a murine alveolar macrophage cell line, which has relatively low lysosomal activity. At 24 h post-exposure, M-FeNPs decreased cell viability and ATP production, and elevated the levels of reactive oxygen species, nitric oxide, and pro-inflammatory cytokines to a higher extent than NM-FeNPs. Damage of mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum and the down-regulation of mitochondrial function and transcription-related genes were also higher in cells exposed to M-FeNPs than in cells exposed to NM-FeNPs (50 μg/ml). In addition, cells exposed to M-FeNPs (50 μg/ml) showed an increase in the number of autophagosome-like vacuoles, whereas cells exposed to NM-FeNPs formed large vacuoles in the cytosol. However, an autophagy-related molecular response was not induced by exposure to either FeNPs, unlike the results seen in our previous study with RAW264.7 cells. We suggest that M-FeNPs induced higher toxicity compared to NM-FeNPs in MH-S cells, and lysosomal activity plays an important role in determining cell death pathway.


Iron nanoparticles Magnetic Toxicity Autophagy Macrophage 



This work was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (2011-35B-E00011).

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 24 kb)
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eun-Jung Park
    • 1
  • Ha Nee Umh
    • 2
  • Dong-Hyuk Choi
    • 1
  • Myung Haing Cho
    • 3
  • Wookhee Choi
    • 4
  • Sang-Wook Kim
    • 1
  • Younghun Kim
    • 2
  • Jae-Ho Kim
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular Science and TechnologyAjou UniversitySuwonKorea
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringKwangwoon UniversitySeoulKorea
  3. 3.College of Veterinary MedicineSeoul National UniversitySeoulKorea
  4. 4.Environmental Health Research DepartmentNational Institute of Environmental ResearchIncheonKorea

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