Cell Membrane Integrity and Internalization of Ingested TiO(2) Nanoparticles by Digestive Gland Cells of a Terrestrial Isopod

Environ Toxicol Chem. 2012 May;31(5):1083-90. doi: 10.1002/etc.1791. Epub 2012 Mar 23.


The present study was motivated by the paucity of reports on cellular internalization of ingested titanium dioxide (TiO(2)) nanoparticles (nano-TiO(2)). The model invertebrate (Porcellio scaber, Isopoda, Crustacea) was exposed to food dosed with nano-TiO(2) containing 100, 1,000, 3,000, or 5,000 µg nano-TiO(2) per gram of food. After 14 d of exposure, the amount of Ti in the entire body was analyzed by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, and elemental analyses of tissue cross sections were performed by particle induced X-ray emission. In addition, a series of toxicological markers including feeding parameters, weight change, and survival, as well as cytotoxic effects such as digestive gland cell membrane stability, were monitored. Internalization of ingested nano-TiO(2) by the isopod's digestive gland epithelial cells was shown to depend on cell membrane integrity. Cell membranes were found to be destabilized by TiO(2) particles, and at higher extracellular concentrations of nano-TiO(2), the nanoparticles were internalized.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects*
  • Digestive System / cytology*
  • Digestive System / drug effects
  • Eating
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Isopoda / cytology
  • Isopoda / drug effects*
  • Nanoparticles / toxicity*
  • Titanium / toxicity*


  • titanium dioxide
  • Titanium