Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 61–73 | Cite as

Toxicological consequences of TiO2, SiC nanoparticles and multi-walled carbon nanotubes exposure in several mammalian cell types: an in vitro study

  • Sabrina Barillet
  • Angélique Simon-Deckers
  • Nathalie Herlin-Boime
  • Martine Mayne-L’Hermite
  • Cécile Reynaud
  • Doris Cassio
  • Barbara Gouget
  • Marie Carrière
Special focus: Safety of Nanoparticles


The development of nanotechnologies may lead to dissemination of potentially toxic nanoparticles in the environment. Toxicology of these nano-sized particles is thus attracting attention of public and governments worldwide. Our research is focused on the in vitro response of eukaryotic cells to nanoparticles exposure. For this purpose, we used cellular models of primary target organs (lung: A549 alveolar epithelial cells), or secondary target organs (liver: WIF-B9, Can-10 and kidneys: NRK-52E, LLC-PK1 proximal cells), i.e., organs exposed if nanoparticles are translocated through epithelial barriers. These cells were exposed to TiO2, SiC nanoparticles or multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT). The influence of nanoparticles physico-chemical characteristics on various toxicological endpoints (cytotoxicity, reactive oxygen species generation, genotoxicity) was specified. Our data demonstrate that nanoparticles toxicity depend on their size, morphology, and chemical composition, the finest, spherical shaped, and anatase TiO2 nanoparticles being the more cytotoxic to NRK-52E cells, while SiC nanoparticles exert almost no cytotoxicity. MWCNT cytotoxicity neither depended on their length, nor on the presence of metal impurities. Nanoparticles cytotoxicity also depended on the exposed cell line. All the tested nanoparticles were uptaken by cells and caused intracellular reactive oxygen species generation. Relative to genotoxic effects, DNA strand breaks were detected in NRK-52E cells via the alkaline comet assay after exposure of cells to TiO2 nanoparticles and to a lesser extent after exposure to MWCNT, but no double strand breaks were detected. The originality of this study lies on the panel of nanomaterials which were tested on a variety of cell lines. All these data may lead to a better understanding of nanomaterial toxicity and hazards for health.


Nanotoxicology Titanium oxide Silicon carbide Multi-walled carbon nanotubes Cytotoxicity Accumulation Oxidative stress Genotoxicity EHS Nanomedicine 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabrina Barillet
    • 1
  • Angélique Simon-Deckers
    • 1
  • Nathalie Herlin-Boime
    • 2
  • Martine Mayne-L’Hermite
    • 2
  • Cécile Reynaud
    • 2
  • Doris Cassio
    • 3
  • Barbara Gouget
    • 1
    • 4
  • Marie Carrière
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire Pierre SüeCEA-CNRS UMR9956, IRAMIS, CEA SaclayGif sur YvetteFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire Francis PerrinCEA-CNRS URA2453, IRAMIS, CEA SaclayGif sur YvetteFrance
  3. 3.INSERM UMR-S 757, Centre UniversitaireOrsay cedexFrance
  4. 4.Scientific DepartmentAFSSAMaisons-AlfortFrance

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