Physiological pathway of human cell damage induced by genotoxic crystalline silica nanoparticles

Biomaterials. 2012 Oct;33(30):7540-6. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.06.073. Epub 2012 Jul 15.


We disclosed a specific biological pathway for the observed cell damage when stimulated by the crystalline SiO(2) nanoparticles (NPs), i.e., both mitochondrion multiplication and DNA fragmentation occur upon the initial reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, with the former causing further increases of the ROS level in the cell, and eventually leads to catastrophic effect on cell physiology. Such damage becomes nontrivial only in the absence of p53 gene, which regulates cells' anti-oxidation and detoxification. This genotoxic effect is absent in cells treated with amorphous SiO(2) NPs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Crystallization
  • DNA Damage / physiology*
  • DNA Fragmentation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mutagens / toxicity*
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Nanoparticles / ultrastructure
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Silicon Dioxide / toxicity*


  • Mutagens
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Silicon Dioxide