Li Y, Sun L, Jin M, Du Z, Liu X, Guo C, Li Y, Huang P, Sun Z
The purpose of this study is to compare the potential cytotoxicity induced by amorphous silica particles with different sizes. The effects of one fine particle (498 nm) and three nanoparticles (68, 43, and 19 nm) on cultured human hepatoma (HepG2) cells were investigated by detecting morphological changes, cell viability, cytomembrane integrity, DNA damage, cell cycle distribution, and apoptosis after the cells were treated with 100 μg/mL of four silica particles for 24h. The results indicated that in HepG2 cells, the cytotoxicity generated by silica particles strongly depended on the particle size, and smaller silica particle possessed higher toxic effect. In order to further elucidate the possible mechanisms of cell injuries, intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) was measured. Increased ROS level was also observed in a size dependent way. However, the result showed the fine particle did not promote intracellular ROS level significantly, while cell injuries were detected in this treated group. Thus, our data demonstrated that exposure to different sizes of silica particles resulted in a size dependent cytotoxicity in cultured HepG2 cells, and ROS generation should be one possible damage pathway but might not be completely responsible for the toxic effect produced by silica particles.