The role of reactive oxygen species in silicon dioxide nanoparticle-induced cytotoxicity and DNA damage in HaCaT cells

Mol Biol Rep. 2012 Apr;39(4):4915-25. doi: 10.1007/s11033-011-1287-z. Epub 2011 Dec 18.


The increasing applications of silicon dioxide (SiO(2)) nanomaterials have been widely concerned over their biological effects and potential hazard to human health. In this study, we explored the effects of SiO(2) nanoparticles (15, 30, and 100 nm) and their micro-sized counterpart on cultured human epidermal Keratinocyte (HaCaT) cells. Cell viability, cell morphology, reactive oxygen species (ROS), DNA damage (8-OHdG, γH2AX and comet assay) and apoptosis were assessed under control and SiO(2) nanoparticles exposed conditions. As observed in the Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) assay, exposure to 15, 30 or 100 nm SiO(2) nanoparticles at dosage levels between 0 and 100 μg/ml decreased cell viability in a concentration- and size dependent manner and the IC50 of 24 hour exposure was 19.4 ± 1.3, 27.7 ± 1.5 and 35.9 ± 1.6 μg/ml for 15, 30 and 100 nm SiO(2) nanoparticles, respectively. Morphological examination revealed cell shrinkage and cell wall missing after SiO(2) nanoparticle exposure. Increase in intracellular ROS level and DNA damage as well as apoptosis were also observed in SiO(2) nanoparticle-exposed HaCaT cells. Exposure to SiO(2) nanoparticles results in a concentration- and size-dependent cytotoxicity and DNA damage in cultural HaCaT cells which is closely correlated to increased oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Shape / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Comet Assay
  • DNA Damage*
  • Deoxyguanosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxyguanosine / metabolism
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Space / drug effects
  • Intracellular Space / metabolism
  • Keratinocytes / cytology*
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects*
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Nanoparticles / toxicity*
  • Nanoparticles / ultrastructure
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Particle Size
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Silicon Dioxide / toxicity*


  • H2AX protein, human
  • Histones
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Silicon Dioxide
  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Deoxyguanosine