Association of Type 2 Diabetes with Submicron Titanium Dioxide Crystals in the Pancreas

Chem Res Toxicol. 2018 Jun 18;31(6):506-509. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.8b00047. Epub 2018 Jun 5.


Pigment-grade titanium dioxide (TiO2) of 200-300 nm particle diameter is the most widely used submicron-sized particle material. Inhaled and ingested TiO2 particles enter the bloodstream, are phagocytized by macrophages and neutrophils, are inflammatory, and activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. In this pilot study of 11 pancreatic specimens, 8 of the type 2 diabetic pancreas and 3 of the nondiabetic pancreas, we show that particles comprising 110 ± 70 nm average diameter TiO2 monocrystals abound in the type 2 diabetic pancreas, but not in the nondiabetic pancreas. In the type 2 diabetic pancreas, the count of the crystals is as high as 108-109 per gram.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Pancreas / chemistry*
  • Pancreas / pathology
  • Particle Size
  • Pilot Projects
  • Titanium / adverse effects
  • Titanium / analysis*


  • titanium dioxide
  • Titanium