Cytotoxic effects in transformed and non-transformed human breast cell lines after exposure to silver nanoparticles in combination with selected aluminium compounds, parabens or phthalates

J Hazard Mater. 2020 Jun 15;392:122442. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.122442. Epub 2020 Mar 2.


This study was undertaken to assess cytotoxic effects of selected aluminium compounds, parabens and phthalates in combination with silver nanoparticles (AgNP, 15 and 45 nm by STEM, Ag15 and Ag45, respectively) on cell lines of the human breast epithelium, normal (MCF-10A) and transformed (MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7). Combination indices were the most spectacular at effective concentrations (ED) inducing 25 % decrease in viability for the combinations of Ag15 with AlCl3 for MDA-MB-231 cells or aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex Gly (AlZr) for MCF-10A and MCF-7 cells, where rather strong antagonism was revealed. As the ED values increased, those effects were enhanced (e.g. Ag15+AlCl3 for MDA-MB-231) or reversed into synergism (e.g. Ag15+AlZr for MCF-7). Another strong effect was observed for aluminium chloride hydroxide, which increasing ED, induced synergistic effect with both Ag15 and Ag45 on MCF-10A cells. Another interesting synergistic effect was observed for DBPh, but only in combination with Ag45 on MCF-10A and MCF-7. The results on cytotoxicity, cell cycle and oxidative stress induction indicate complex response of the cell lines to combined treatment with silver nanoparticles and the chemicals, which were influenced by diverse factors, such as physico-chemical characteristics of AgNP, method of their synthesis, concentrations used, and finally cell type.

Keywords: Cell cycle; Combination index; Cytotoxicity; Nanomaterial-Biological interactions; Oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum Compounds / toxicity*
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Drug Interactions
  • Female
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Metal Nanoparticles / toxicity*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Parabens / toxicity*
  • Phthalic Acids / toxicity*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Silver / toxicity*


  • Aluminum Compounds
  • Parabens
  • Phthalic Acids
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Silver
  • phthalic acid
  • Glutathione