Nano-scaled particles of titanium dioxide convert benign mouse fibrosarcoma cells into aggressive tumor cells.
Am J Pathol. 2009 Nov;175(5):2171-83. Epub 2009 Oct 8. PMID: 19815711
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Yamagata University, Japan.
Nanoparticles are prevalent in both commercial and medicinal products; however, the contribution of nanomaterials to carcinogenesis remains unclear. We therefore examined the effects of nano-sized titanium dioxide (TiO(2)) on poorly tumorigenic and nonmetastatic QR-32 fibrosarcoma cells. We found that mice that were cotransplanted subcutaneously with QR-32 cells and nano-sized TiO(2), either uncoated (TiO(2)-1, hydrophilic) or coated with stearic acid (TiO(2)-2, hydrophobic), did not form tumors. However, QR-32 cells became tumorigenic after injection into sites previously implanted with TiO(2)-1, but not TiO(2)-2, and these developing tumors acquired metastatic phenotypes. No differences were observed either histologically or in inflammatory cytokine mRNA expression between TiO(2)-1 and TiO(2)-2 treatments. However, TiO(2)-2, but not TiO(2)-1, generated high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cell-free conditions. Although both TiO(2)-1 and TiO(2)-2 resulted in intracellular ROS formation, TiO(2)-2 elicited a stronger response, resulting in cytotoxicity to the QR-32 cells. Moreover, TiO(2)-2, but not TiO(2)-1, led to the development of nuclear interstices and multinucleate cells. Cells that survived the TiO(2) toxicity acquired a tumorigenic phenotype. TiO(2)-induced ROS formation and its related cell injury were inhibited by the addition of antioxidant N-acetyl-l-cysteine. These results indicate that nano-sized TiO(2) has the potential to convert benign tumor cells into malignant ones through the generation of ROS in the target cells.