The Vitamin A and D Exposure of Cells Affects the Intracellular Uptake of Aluminum Nanomaterials and its Agglomeration Behavior: A Chemo-Analytic Investigation

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Feb 14;21(4):1278. doi: 10.3390/ijms21041278.


Aluminum (Al) is extensively used for the production of different consumer products, agents, as well as pharmaceuticals. Studies that demonstrate neurotoxicity and a possible link to Alzheimer's disease trigger concern about potential health risks due to high Al intake. Al in cosmetic products raises the question whether a possible interaction between Al and retinol (vitamin A) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) metabolism might exist. Understanding the uptake mechanisms of ionic or elemental Al and Al nanomaterials (Al NMs) in combination with bioactive substances are important for the assessment of possible health risk associated. Therefore, we studied the uptake and distribution of Al oxide (Al2O3) and metallic Al0 NMs in the human keratinocyte cell line HaCaT. Possible alterations of the metabolic pattern upon application of the two Al species together with vitamin A or D3 were investigated. Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) imaging and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) were applied to quantify the cellular uptake of Al NMs.

Keywords: ICP-MS; ToF-SIMS; aluminum; metabolomics; nanoparticle uptake; vitamin.

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum / analysis*
  • Aluminum / chemistry
  • Aluminum / metabolism
  • Aluminum Oxide / analysis*
  • Aluminum Oxide / chemistry
  • Aluminum Oxide / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cholecalciferol / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / cytology
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Secondary Ion
  • Vitamin A / pharmacology*


  • Vitamin A
  • Cholecalciferol
  • Aluminum
  • Aluminum Oxide