Silver nanoparticles induce oxidative cell damage in human liver cells through inhibition of reduced glutathione and induction of mitochondria-involved apoptosis.Toxicol Lett. 2011 Feb 25; 201(1):92-100.TL
Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs), which have well-known antimicrobial properties, are extensively used in various medical and general applications. Despite the widespread use of AgNPs, relatively few studies have been undertaken to determine the cytotoxic effects of AgNPs exposure. This study investigates possible molecular mechanisms underlying the cytotoxic effects of AgNPs. Here, we show that AgNPs-induced cytotoxicity was higher compared than that observed when AgNO(3) was used as a silver ion source. AgNPs induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and suppression of reduced glutathione (GSH) in human Chang liver cells. ROS generated by AgNPs resulted in damage to various cellular components, DNA breaks, lipid membrane peroxidation, and protein carbonylation. Upon AgNPs exposure, cell viability decreased due to apoptosis, as demonstrated by the formation of apoptotic bodies, sub-G(1) hypodiploid cells, and DNA fragmentation. AgNPs induced a mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathway via modulation of Bax and Bcl-2 expressions, resulting in the disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψ(m)). Loss of Δψ(m) was followed by cytochrome c release from the mitochondria, resulting in the activation of caspases 9 and 3. The apoptotic effect of AgNPs was exerted via the activation of c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) and was abrogated by the JNK-specific inhibitor, SP600125 and siRNA targeting JNK. In summary, the results suggest that AgNPs cause cytotoxicity by oxidative stress-induced apoptosis and damage to cellular components.