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Maternal exposure to nanoparticulate titanium dioxide during the prenatal period alters gene expression related to brain development in the mouse

Midori Shimizu1, Hitoshi Tainaka2, Taro Oba1, Keisuke Mizuo2, Masakazu Umezawa1 and Ken Takeda12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Hygienic Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tokyo University of Science, Chiba 278-8510, Japan

2 Research Center for Health Sciences of Nanoparticles, Research Institute for Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science, Yamazaki 2641, Noda-shi, Chiba 278-8510, Japan

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Particle and Fibre Toxicology 2009, 6:20  doi:10.1186/1743-8977-6-20

Published: 29 July 2009



Nanotechnology is developing rapidly throughout the world and the production of novel man-made nanoparticles is increasing, it is therefore of concern that nanomaterials have the potential to affect human health. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of maternal exposure to nano-sized anatase titanium dioxide (TiO2) on gene expression in the brain during the developmental period using cDNA microarray analysis combined with Gene Ontology (GO) and Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms information.


Analysis of gene expression using GO terms indicated that expression levels of genes associated with apoptosis were altered in the brain of newborn pups, and those associated with brain development were altered in early age. The genes associated with response to oxidative stress were changed in the brains of 2 and 3 weeks old mice. Changes of the expression of genes associated with neurotransmitters and psychiatric diseases were found using MeSH terms.


Maternal exposure of mice to TiO2 nanoparticles may affect the expression of genes related to the development and function of the central nervous system.