Effects of true-to-life PET nanoplastics using primary human nasal epithelial cells

Balasubramanyam Annangi, Aliro Villacorta, Lourdes Vela, Alireza Tavakolpournegari, Ricard Marcos, Alba Hernández

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Since inhalation is a relevant exposure route, studies using appropriate micro/nanoplastic (MNPLs) models, representative targeted cells, and relevant biomarkers of effect are required. We have used lab-made polyethylene terephthalate (PET)NPLs obtained from PET plastic water bottles. Human primary nasal epithelial cells (HNEpCs) were used as a model of the first barrier of the respiratory system. Cell internalization and intracellular reactive oxygen species (iROS) induction, as well as the effects on mitochondria functionality and in the modulation of the autophagy pathway, were evaluated. The data indicated significant cellular uptake and increased levels of iROS. Furthermore, a loss of mitochondrial membrane potential was observed in the exposed cells. Regarding the effects on the autophagy pathway, PETNPLs exposure significantly increases LC3-II protein expression levels. PETNPLs exposure also induced significant increases in the expression of p62. This is the first study showing that true-to-life PETNPLs can alter the autophagy pathway in HNEpCs
Original languageEnglish
Article number104140
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Pharmacology
Early online date1 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Autophagy
  • HNEpCs
  • Mitochondrial membrane potential
  • Nanoplastics
  • Oxidative stress
  • PET
  • Uptake


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of true-to-life PET nanoplastics using primary human nasal epithelial cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this