Genotoxic and cell-transforming effects of titanium dioxide nanoparticles

Eşref Demir, Hakan Akça, Fatma Turna, Sezgin Aksakal, Durmuş Burgucu, Bülent Kaya, Onur Tokgün, Gerard Vales, Amadeu Creus, Ricard Marcos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Elsevier Inc. The in vitro genotoxic and the soft-agar anchorage independent cell transformation ability of titanium dioxide nanoparticles (nano-TiO2) and its microparticulated form has been evaluated in human embryonic kidney (HEK293) and in mouse embryonic fibroblast (NIH/3T3) cells. Nano-TiO2 of two different sizes (21 and 50nm) were used in this study. The comet assay, with and without the use of FPG enzyme, the micronucleus assay and the soft-agar colony assay were used. For both the comet assay and the frequency of micronuclei a statistically significant induction of DNA damage, was observed at the highest dose tested (1000μg/mL). No oxidative DNA damage induction was observed when the comet assay was complemented with the use of FPG enzyme. Furthermore, long-term exposure to nano-TiO2 has also proved to induce cell-transformation promoting cell-anchorage independent growth in soft-agar. Results were similar for the two nano-TiO2 sizes. Negative results were obtained when the microparticulated form of TiO2 was tested, indicating the existence of important differences between the microparticulated and nanoparticulated forms. As a conclusion it should be indicated that the observed genotoxic/tranforming effects were only detected at the higher dose tested (1000μg/mL) what play down the real risk of environmental exposures to this nanomaterial.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-308
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Comet assay
  • HEK293 and NIH/3T3 cells
  • Micronucleus assay
  • Nano-TiO 2
  • Soft-agar assay


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