Effect of the size and surface charge of silica nanoparticles on cutaneous toxicity

Yoon Hee Park, Hyun Cheol Bae, Yeonsue Jang, Sang Hoon Jeong, Ha Na Lee, Woo In Ryu, Min Gun Yoo, Yu Ri Kim, Meyoung Kon Kim, Jong Kwon Lee, Jayoung Jeong, Sang Wook Son

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)


Silica nanoparticles (NPs) are widely applied in many fields, such as chemical industry, medicine, cosmetics, and agriculture. However, the hazardous effects of silica NPs exposure are not completely understood. In this study, the two different sizes (20 nm and 100 nm) and different charges (negatively charged [NC] and weakly negatively charged [WNC]) of silica NPs were used. The present study investigated the cytotoxicity and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation of silica NPs on keratinocytes. The phototoxicity test of silica NPs was performed on skin fibroblast cells. In addition, skin irritation and skin sensitization of silica NPs were studied on HSEM and mouse skin, respectively. The cell viability of NC 20 nm silica NPs was decreased. However, there are no cytotoxicity for NC 100 nm silica NPs and WNC silica NPs (20 and 100 nm). The results for silica NPs-induced ROS generation are consistent with the cytotoxicity test by silica NPs. Further, NC and WNC silica NPs induced no phototoxicity, acute cutaneous irritation, or skin sensitization. These results suggested that silica NPs-induced ROS generation was the determinant of cytotoxicity. This study showed that the smaller size (20 nm) of silica NPs had more toxicity than the larger size (100 nm) of silica NPs for NC silica NPs. Moreover, we observed an effect of surface charge in cytotoxicity and ROS generation, by showing that the NC silica NPs (20 nm) had more toxic than the WNC silica NPs (20 nm). These findings suggested that the surface charge of silica NPs might be the important parameter for silica NPs-induced toxicity. Further study is needed to assess the effect of surface modification of nanotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular and Cellular Toxicology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Mar


  • Phototoxicity
  • Silica
  • Skin irritation
  • Skin sensitization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of the size and surface charge of silica nanoparticles on cutaneous toxicity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this