The potential hazard to humans exposed to nanomaterials such as silica and iron oxide was investigated using an in vitro macrophage cell culture system. Amorphous silica and iron oxide particles and nanomaterials (NMs) were dispersed in cell culture medium supplemented with either bovine serum albumin (BSA), lung lining fluid (LLF) or serum, in order to mimic the body fluids encountered during different routes of exposure in the body. End points investigated included macrophage viability and cytokine production. Silica NMs and particles (50 and 200nm, respectively) were unmodified (plain) or aminated (NH2). Iron oxide NMs and particles, Fe3O4 45nm and Fe2O3 280nm were also used in this study. Silica particles and NMs induced a dose-dependent increase in cytotoxicity as measured by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release. Serum enhanced silica-induced interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, IL-1β and MCP-1 release, whereas albumin partially inhibited MCP-1 release. Aminated silica, 50nm was more potent than the 200-nm particles at inducing monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) production when dispersed in medium or LLF, suggesting a size specific effect for these particles and this cytokine. Iron oxide particles were relatively inert compared with the silica particles and NMs; however, serum and albumin did affect cytokine release in some treatments. In conclusion, the data suggests that serum, compared with medium, BSA and LLF is very potent at enhancing macrophage responses to silica and iron oxide particles and NMs. Size was only influential in LLF for a limited number of parameters, whereas surface chemistry was not of consequence in this in vitro macrophage system.
- Iron oxide