Effects of silver and gold nanoparticles of different sizes in human pulmonary fibroblasts.Toxicol Mech Methods. 2015; 25(4):287-95.TM
Silver and gold nanoparticles (Ag-AuNPs) are currently some of the most manufactured nanomaterials. Accordingly, the hazards associated with human exposure to Ag-AuNPs should be investigated to facilitate the risk assessment process. In particular, because pulmonary exposure to Ag-AuNPs occurs during handling of these nanoparticles, it is necessary to evaluate the toxic response in pulmonary cells. The aim of this study was to evaluate the in vitro mechanisms of toxicity of different sizes of silver (4.7 and 42 nm) and gold nanoparticles (30, 50 and 90 nm) in human pulmonary fibroblasts (HPF). The toxicity was evaluated by observing cell viability and oxidative stress parameters. Data showed that AgNPs-induced cytotoxicity was size-dependent, whereas the AuNPs of the three sizes showed similar cytotoxicity. Silver nanoparticles of 4.7 nm were much more toxic than the large silver nanoparticles and the AuNPs. However, the pre-treatment with the antioxidant, N-acetyl-L-cysteine, protected HPF cells against treatment with Ag-AuNPs. The oxidative stress parameters revealed significant increase in reactive oxygen species levels, depletion of glutathione level and slight, but not statistically significant inactivation of superoxide dismutase, suggesting generation of oxidative stress. Hence, care has to be taken while processing and formulating the Ag-AuNPs till their final finished product.