Nano titanium dioxide photocatalytic protein tyrosine nitration: a potential hazard of TiO2 on skin

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Jun 13;370(4):675-80. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.04.010. Epub 2008 Apr 11.


Protein tyrosine nitration is a prevalent post-translational modification which occurs as a result of oxidative and nitrative stress, it may be directly involved in the onset and/or progression of diseases. Considering the existence of nano titanium dioxide (TiO(2)) in environment and sunscreen products along with the high content of nitrite in sweat, the UV-exposed skin may be a significant target for the photosensitized damage. In this paper, tyrosine nitration of bovine serum albumin (BSA) was initiated in the UV-irradiated reaction mixture containing 0.2-3.0mg/ml of three commercially nano TiO(2) products and 0.25-1.0mM NO2-. It was found that anatase TiO(2) and Degussa P25 TiO(2) showed prominent photocatalytic activity on promoting the formation of protein tyrosine nitration, and the optimum condition for the reaction was around physiological pH. Meanwhile, the photocatalytic effect of rutile on protein tyrosine nitration was subtle. The potential physiological significance of nano TiO(2)-photocatalytic protein nitration was also demonstrated in mouse skin homogenate. Although the relationship between photocatalytic protein tyrosine nitration and chronic cutaneous diseases needs further study, the toxicity of nano TiO(2) to the skin disease should be paid more attention in the production and utilization process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Catalysis
  • Cattle
  • Environment
  • Mice
  • Nanostructures / toxicity*
  • Nitrites / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / drug effects
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / metabolism
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / radiation effects
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Skin Diseases / chemically induced
  • Sunscreening Agents / toxicity*
  • Titanium / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Titanium / toxicity*
  • Tyrosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Tyrosine / analysis
  • Tyrosine / metabolism
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Antioxidants
  • Nitrites
  • Sunscreening Agents
  • titanium dioxide
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • 3-nitrotyrosine
  • Tyrosine
  • Titanium