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Nanotitanium dioxide toxicity in mouse lung is reduced in sanding dust from paint

Anne Thoustrup Saber1*, Nicklas Raun Jacobsen1, Alicia Mortensen2, Józef Szarek3, Petra Jackson1, Anne Mette Madsen1, Keld Alstrup Jensen1, Ismo K Koponen1, Gunnar Brunborg6, Kristine Bjerve Gützkow6, Ulla Vogel14 and Håkan Wallin15

Author Affiliations

1 The National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Lersø Parkallé 105, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

2 National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Mørkhøj Bygade 19, DK-2860 Søborg, Denmark

3 University of Warmia and Mazury, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, 10-719 Olsztyn, Poland

4 Department of Micro and Nanotechnology, Technical University of Denmark, DK-2800 Lyngby, Denmark

5 Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, DK-1014 Copenhagen K, Denmark

6 Department of Chemical Toxicology, Division of Environmental Medicine, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, PO Box 4404 Nydalen, N-0403 Oslo, Norway

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Particle and Fibre Toxicology 2012, 9:4  doi:10.1186/1743-8977-9-4

Published: 2 February 2012



Little is known of how the toxicity of nanoparticles is affected by the incorporation in complex matrices. We compared the toxic effects of the titanium dioxide nanoparticle UV-Titan L181 (NanoTiO2), pure or embedded in a paint matrix. We also compared the effects of the same paint with and without NanoTiO2.


Mice received a single intratracheal instillation of 18, 54 and 162 μg of NanoTiO2 or 54, 162 and 486 μg of the sanding dust from paint with and without NanoTiO2. DNA damage in broncheoalveolar lavage cells and liver, lung inflammation and liver histology were evaluated 1, 3 and 28 days after intratracheal instillation. Printex 90 was included as positive control.


There was no additive effect of adding NanoTiO2 to paints: Therefore the toxicity of NanoTiO2 was reduced by inclusion into a paint matrix. NanoTiO2 induced inflammation in mice with severity similar to Printex 90. The inflammatory response of NanoTiO2 and Printex 90 correlated with the instilled surface area. None of the materials, except of Printex 90, induced DNA damage in lung lining fluid cells. The highest dose of NanoTiO2 caused DNA damage in hepatic tissue 1 day after intratracheal instillation. Exposure of mice to the dust from paints with and without TiO2 was not associated with hepatic histopathological changes. Exposure to NanoTiO2 or to Printex 90 caused slight histopathological changes in the liver in some of the mice at different time points.


Pulmonary inflammation and DNA damage and hepatic histopathology were not changed in mice instilled with sanding dust from NanoTiO2 paint compared to paint without NanoTiO2. However, pure NanoTiO2 caused greater inflammation than NanoTiO2 embedded in the paint matrix.

Nanoparticles; Nano titanium dioxide; UV-Titan L181; sanding dusts; paint matrix; inflammation; DNA damage; liver histology