Toxic and adjuvant effects of silica nanoparticles on ovalbumin-induced allergic airway inflammation in mice

Heejae Han, Yoon Hee Park, Hye Jung Park, Kangtaek Lee, Kiju Um, Jung Won Park, Jae Hyun Lee

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Silica nanoparticles (SNPs) can easily enter in respiratory system via inhalation because of their low molecular weight and ease of dispersion. Toxicity and adverse effects of SNPs vary according to the physical characteristics of the particle. Methods: To evaluate the toxic and adjuvant effects of 3 types of SNPs in the airway system, six-week-old female BALB/c mice were intranasally administered 3 types of SNPs (spherical [S-SNP], mesoporous [M-SNP], and polyethylene glycol-conjugated [P-SNP]) alone or SNPs/ovalbumin (OVA), three times weekly for 2weeks. Airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR), bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), cytokine levels, and histology of the lungs were analyzed. Results: The S-SNPs/OVA group and M-SNPs/OVA group showed significant AHR, compared to the control group. Among all SNP-treated groups, the group administered SNPs/OVA showed greater inflammatory cell infiltration in BALF, extensive pathological changes, and higher cytokine levels (IL-5, IL-13, IL-1β, and IFN-γ) than those administered SNPs alone or saline/OVA. Conclusion: Exposure to SNPs alone and SNPs/OVA induced toxicity in the respiratory system. SNPs alone showed significant toxic effects on the airway system. Meanwhile, SNPs/OVA exerted adjuvant effects to OVA of inducing allergic airway inflammation. In particular, M-SNPs showed the most severe airway inflammation in both direct toxicity and adjuvant effect assays. P-SNPs induced less inflammation than the other types of SNPs in both models.

Original languageEnglish
Article number60
JournalRespiratory research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 18

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a faculty research grant of Yonsei University College of Medicine for 2013 (6-2013-0024) and the Nano-Material Technology Development Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (No. 2009-0082417).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Han et al.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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