Comparison of toxicity of different nanorod-type TiO2 polymorphs in vivo and in vitro

Eun Jung Park, Gwang Hee Lee, Hyun Woo Shim, Jae Ho Kim, Myung Haing Cho, Dong Wan Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


It is predicted that the toxicity of nanoparticles may be different depending on the properties of the nanoparticles and biological system being tested. However, the factors that influence the toxicity of nanoparticles have not been adequately investigated. In this study, we characterized two types of TiO2 nanorods, anatase (ATO) and brookite (BTO), and compared their toxicity in vivo and in vitro. ATO and BTO differed from each other most notably in their surface areas. Treatment with the two TiO2 nanorods (10 μg ml-1) produced similar effects on the cell cycle in eight cell lines which are derived from potential target organs of nanoparticles, with the BTO eliciting stronger responses than ATO in all cell lines, among the cell lines, H9C2 showed the maximal change. Similarly, when mice were exposed to two TiO2 nanorods (1 mg kg-1), BTO induced clearer histopathological lesions and triggered a more robust secretion of inflammatory cytokines than ATO. Furthermore, we compared the cellular response of both TiO2 nanorods using BEAS-2B cells, the human bronchial epithelial cell line. Both nanorods induced cell death by increasing the formation of autophagosome-like vacuoles. The mitochondrial calcium concentration decreased by exposure of both types, but the distribution of lysosome and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) showed a clear difference between the two nanorods. Thus, we conclude that the surface area acts as an important factor which depends on toxicity of nanorod type-TiO2 nanoparticles. Furthermore, the toxicity of nanoparticles varies according to the type of cells tested, and that the assembly of autophagosome-like vacuoles is a critical part of the cellular response to nanoparticle exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-366
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Toxicology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Autophagosome
  • Nanorods
  • Surface area
  • TiO
  • Toxicity
  • Vacuoles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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