Toxicity of Titanium Oxide Nanoparticles Causes Functionality and DNA Damage in Buffalo (Bubalus Bubalis) Sperm in Vitro

Toxicol Ind Health. 2014 Jul;30(6):520-33. doi: 10.1177/0748233712462475. Epub 2012 Oct 11.


The present study has examined the effect of different concentrations (1 μg/ml, 10 μg/ml and 100 μg/ml) of titanium oxide (TiO2) nanoparticles (NPs) (<100 nm) on viability, membrane integrity, capacitation status and DNA integrity of buffalo spermatozoa. Characterization of NPs was done by the transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and dynamic light scattering (DLS). Sperm chromatin dispersion (SCD) test and acridine orange test (AOT) were employed to detect DNA fragmentation in sperm treated with NPs. There was significant (p < 0.05) decrease in cell viability and membrane integrity (assessed by enzyme leakage) at 6 h of incubation with NPs. However, significant (p < 0.05) increase in sperm capacitation was observed for TiO2 NP albeit at lower concentrations. In DNA fragmentation assay, there was dose-dependent increase in the DNA fragmentation (r = 0.96). Ultrathin cross-sections revealed TiO2 NPs inside head and plasma membrane of the buffalo spermatozoa as assessed by TEM. These studies suggest that TiO2 NPs may have cytotoxic effect on buffalo spermatozoa by affecting sperm functionality and causing high amount of DNA fragmentations.

Keywords: DNA damage; Titanium oxide nanoparticles; buffalo; sperm chromatin dispersion test..

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Buffaloes
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • DNA Fragmentation / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Metal Nanoparticles / toxicity*
  • Sperm Capacitation / drug effects
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects
  • Titanium / administration & dosage
  • Titanium / toxicity*


  • titanium dioxide
  • Titanium