Potential neurological lesion after nasal instillation of TiO2 nanoparticles in the anatase and rutile crystal phases

Jiangxue Wang, Chunying Chen, Ying Liu, Fang Jiao, Wei Li, Fang Lao, Yufeng Li, Bai Li, Cuicui Ge, Guoqiang Zhou, Yuxi Gao, Yuliang Zhao, Zhifang Chai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

303 Scopus citations


Nanoscale titanium dioxide (TiO2) is massively produced and widely used in living environment, which hence make the potential risk to human health. Central nervous system (CNS) is the potential susceptible target of inhaled nanoparticles, but the studies on this aspect are limited so far. We report the accumulation and toxicity results in vivo of two crystalline phases of TiO2 nanoparticles (80 nm, rutile and 155 nm, anatase; purity >99%). The female mice were intranasally instilled with 500 μg of TiO2 nanoparticles suspension every other day for 30 days. Synchrotron radiation X-ray fluorescence analysis (SRXRF) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) were used to determine the contents of titanium in murine brain. Then, the pathological examination of brain tissue, oxidative stress-mediated responses, and levels of neurochemicals in the brain of exposed mice were also analyzed. The obvious morphological changes of hippocampal neurons and increased GFAP-positive astrocytes in the CA4 region were observed, which were in good agreements with higher Ti contents in the hippocampus region. Oxidative stress occurred obviously in whole brain of exposed mice such as lipid peroxidation, protein oxidation and increased activities of catalase, as well as the excessive release of glutamic acid and nitric oxide. These findings indicate anatase TiO2 nanoparticles exhibited higher concern on some tested biological effects. To summarize, results provided the preliminary evidence that nasal instilled TiO2 nanoparticles could be translocated into the central nervous system and cause potential lesion of brain, and the hippocampus would be the main target within brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-80
Number of pages9
JournalToxicology Letters
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Dec 15 2008


  • GFAP expression
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Neurotoxicology
  • Protein oxidation
  • Redox status
  • TiO nanomaterials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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