Friday, 23 September 2022 13:19

In vitro: Nano plastic particles interfere with cell metabolism Featured

Using human lung and liver cells, Chinese researchers have observed that nano plastics of 80 nm in size have a disturbing effect on energy and cellular metabolism.

For their investigation, scientists from Hong Kong Baptist University, Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen as well as the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences in Beijing, China, used human liver and lung cell lines and exposed them to 80 nm nanoparticle suspensions, followed by an examination with a transmission electron microscope.  Reactive oxygen species in mitochondria and the composition of metalloproteases were observed in a confocal laser microscope.

They found out, that exposure to the nano plastic particles did not result in massive cell death (cell-liability assay); however, transmission electron microscopy showed that the nanoparticles could enter the cells and damage the mitochondria which were interpreted by an overproduction of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species, changes in the mitochondrial membrane potential and a suppression of mitochondrial respiration.

Mitochondria were the most affected organelles. Human liver cells were more influenced compared to lung cells.

Original publication:
Siyi Lin et al (2022). Metabolomics Reveal Nanoplastic-Induced Mitochondrial Damage in Human Liver and Lung Cells. Environ. Sci. Technol. 56/17: 12483-12493. August 25, 2022,

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