Zinc oxide nanoparticles: Genotoxicity, interactions with UV-light and cell-transforming potential

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

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59 Citations (Scopus)


The in vitro genotoxic and the soft agar anchorage independent cell transformation ability of zinc oxide nanoparticles (NPs) and its bulky forms have been evaluated in human embryonic kidney (HEK293) and in mouse embryonic fibroblast (NIH/3T3) cells, either alone or in combination with UVB-light. The comet assay, with and without the use of FPG and Endo III enzymes, the micronucleus assay and the soft-agar colony assay were used. For the comet assay a statistically significant induction of DNA damage, with and without the enzymes, were observed up of 100. μg/mL. ZnO NPs were able to increase significantly the frequency of micronuclei, and similar results were observed in the cell transformation assay where such NPs were able to induce cell-anchorage independent growth. These effects were observed at doses up 100. μg/mL. Although UVB-light was able to induce genotoxic damage and cell-anchorage growth, a significant antagonist interaction effect was observed in combination with ZnO NPs. These in vitro results, obtained with the selected cell lines, contribute to increase our genotoxicity database on the ZnO NPs effects as well as to open the discussion about their risk in photo-protection sun screens. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-429
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2014


  • Comet assay
  • Genotoxicity
  • Micronucleus assay
  • Soft-agar assay
  • UV-light interaction
  • ZnO nanoparticles


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