Species-specific toxicity of copper nanoparticles among mammalian and piscine cell lines

Nanotoxicology. 2014 Jun;8(4):383-93. doi: 10.3109/17435390.2013.790997. Epub 2013 Apr 22.


The four copper nanoparticles (CuNPs) with the size of 25, 50, 78 and 100 nm and one type of micron-sized particles (MPs) (~500 nm) were exposed to two mammalian (H4IIE and HepG2) and two piscine (PLHC-1 and RTH-149) cell lines to test the species-specific toxicities of CuNPs. The results showed that the morphologies, ion release and size of the particles all played an important role when investigating the toxicity. Furthermore, the authors found that the particle forms of CuNPs in suspensions highly contribute to the toxicity in all exposed cell lines whereas copper ions (Cu(2+)) only caused significant responses in mammalian cell lines, indicating the species-specific toxicity of CuNPs. This study revealed that the morphologies, ion release rate of NPs as well as the species-specific vulnerabilities of cells should all be considered when explaining and extrapolating toxicity test results among particles and among species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Copper / chemistry*
  • Copper / toxicity*
  • Fundulidae
  • Humans
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Metal Nanoparticles / toxicity*
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss
  • Particle Size
  • Rats
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / analysis
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Copper