Environmental plastic wastes are continuously degraded to their micro and nanoforms. Since in the environment they coexist with other pollutants, it has been suggested that they could act as vectors transporting different toxic trace elements, such as metals. To confirm this, we have assessed the potential interactions between nanopolystyrene, as a model of nanoplastic debris, and silver compounds (silver nanoparticles and silver nitrate), as models of metal contaminant. Using TEM-EDX methodological approaches, we have been able to demonstrate metal sorption by nanopolystyrene. Furthermore, using Caco-2 cells and confocal microscopy, we have observed the co-localization of nanopolystyrene/nanosilver in different cellular compartments, including the cell nucleus. Although the internalization of these complexes showed no exacerbated cytotoxic effects, compared to the effects of each compound alone, the silver/nanopolystyrene complexes modulate the cell’s uptake of silver and slightly modify some harmful cellular effects of silver, such as the ability to induce genotoxic and oxidative DNA damage.
- Cell fate
- Cell uptake
- Complexes silver-nanopolystyrene