Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, 16:2591 | Cite as

Nanomaterial induction of oxidative stress in lung epithelial cells and macrophages

  • Lin Wang
  • Anoop K. Pal
  • Jacqueline A. Isaacs
  • Dhimiter Bello
  • Rebecca L. CarrierEmail author
Research Paper


Oxidative stress in the lung epithelial A549 cells and macrophages J774A.1 due to contact with commercially important nanomaterials [i.e., nano-silver (nAg), nano-alumina (nAl2O3), single-wall carbon nanotubes (CNT), and nano-titanium oxide anatase (nTiO2)] was evaluated. Nanomaterial-induced intracellular oxidative stress was analyzed by both H2DCFDA fluorescein probe and GSH depletion, extracellular oxidative stress was assessed by H2HFF fluorescein probes, and the secretion of chemokine IL-8 by A549 cells due to elevation of cellular oxidative stress was also monitored, in order to provide a comprehensive in vitro study on nanomaterial-induced oxidative stress in lung. In addition, results from this study were also compared with an acellular “ferric reducing ability of serum” (FRAS) assay and a prokaryotic cell-based assay in evaluating oxidative damage caused by the same set of nanomaterials, for comparison purposes. In general, it was found that nanomaterial-induced oxidative stress is highly cell-type dependent. In A549 lung epithelial cells, nAg appeared to induce highest level of oxidative stress and cell death followed by CNT, nTiO2, and nAl2O3. Different biological oxidative damage (BOD) assays’ (i.e., H2DCFA, GSH, and IL-8 release) results generally agreed with each other, and the same trends of nanomaterial-induced BOD were also observed in acellular FRAS and prokaryotic E. coli K12-based assay. In macrophage J774A.1 cells, nAl2O3 and nTiO2 appeared to induce highest levels of oxidative stress. These results suggest that epithelial and macrophage cell models may provide complimentary information when conducting cell-based assays to evaluate nanomaterial-induced oxidative damage in lung.


Nanoparticles Oxidative stress Lung epithelial cell Macrophage FRAS Environmental and health effects 



The study was funded through the National Science Foundation as a Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers Program (Award # NSF-0425826) and EEC-0425826 (Supplement). Some experiments were conducted at the George J. Kostas Nanoscale Technology and Manufacturing Research Center at Northeastern University.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lin Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anoop K. Pal
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jacqueline A. Isaacs
    • 4
    • 5
  • Dhimiter Bello
    • 3
    • 4
  • Rebecca L. Carrier
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Chemical Engineering DepartmentNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Integrated Cell-Material SciencesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  3. 3.Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology ProgramUniversity of Massachusetts LowellLowellUSA
  4. 4.Center for High Rate NanomanufacturingNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Mechanical EngineeringNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA

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