Toxicity of orally administered food-grade titanium dioxide nanoparticles

Hyoung Yun Han, Mi Jin Yang, Cheolho Yoon, Gwang Hee Lee, Dong Wan Kim, Tae Won Kim, Minjeong Kwak, Min Beom Heo, Tae Geol Lee, Soojin Kim, Jung Hwa Oh, Hyun Ji Lim, Inkyung Oh, Seokjoo Yoon, Eun Jung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This year, France banned the application of titanium dioxide nanoparticles as a food additive (hereafter, E171) based on the insufficient oral toxicity data. Here, we investigated the subchronic toxic responses of E171 (0, 10, 100, and 1,000 mg/kg) and tried to elucidate the possible toxic mechanism using AGS cells, a human stomach epithelial cell line. There were no dose-related changes in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development test guideline-related endpoints. Meanwhile, E171 deeply penetrated cells lining the stomach tissues of rats, and the IgM and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor levels were significantly lower in the blood from rats exposed to E171 compared with the control. The colonic antioxidant protein level decreased with increasing Ti accumulation. Additionally, after 24-h exposure, E171 located in the perinuclear region of AGS cells and affected expression of endoplasmic reticulum stress-related proteins. However, cell death was not observed up to the used maximum concentration. A gene profile analysis also showed that immune response-related microRNAs were most strongly affected by E171 exposure. Collectively, we concluded that the NOAEL of E171 for 90 days repeated oral administration is between 100 and 1,000 mg/kg for both male and female rats. Additionally, further study is needed to clarify the possible carcinogenesis following the chronic accumulation in the colon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1127-1147
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Applied Toxicology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul


  • E171
  • cancer
  • colon
  • microRNA
  • stomach
  • titanium dioxide nanoparticles
  • toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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