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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: KNOWLEDGE OF SOIL-PLANT-HUMAN FOOD SYSTEMS TO ENHANCE IRON AND ZINC BIOAVAILABILITY IN PLANT FOODS

Location: Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research

Title: Oral exposure to polystyrene nanoparticles effects iron absorption

Authors
item Mahler, Gretchen -
item Esch, Mandy -
item Tako, Elad
item Southard, Theresa -
item Glahn, Raymond
item Shuler, Michael -

Submitted to: Nature Nanotechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 6, 2012
Publication Date: February 12, 2012
Repository URL: http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nnano.2012.3.html
Citation: Mahler, G., Esch, M., Tako, E.N., Southard, T., Glahn, R.P., Shuler, M. 2012. Oral exposure to polystyrene nanoparticles effects iron absorption. Nature Nanotechnology. DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2012.3.

Interpretive Summary: Engineered nanoparticles are commonly used in food and pharmaceuticals, however, it is unclear what is the effect of chronic oral exposure to nanoparticles on human health. In the current study, we show that chronic and acute oral exposure to polystyrene nanoparticles can influence iron uptake and iron transport in the intestines of chickens and in an in vitro (intestinal cell) model of the intestinal epithelium. Intestinal cells that are exposed to high doses of nanoparticles showed increased iron transport and this is because nanoparticles could disrupt the cell membrane. Chickens that are acutely exposed to carboxylated particles (50 nm in diameter) showed lower iron absorption than unexposed or chronically exposed birds. Chronic exposure caused remodeling of the intestinal villi, which increased the surface area available for iron absorption. The agreement between the in vitro (animal model) and in vivo (cellular) results suggests that our in vitro intestinal epithelium model is potentially useful for toxicology studies. This knowledge is significant for further investigation of the affect nanoparticles might have on human health.

Technical Abstract: The use of engineered nanoparticles in food and pharmaceuticals is expected to increase, but the impact of chronic oral exposure to nanoparticles on human health remains unknown. Here, we show that chronic and acute oral exposure to polystyrene nanoparticles can influence iron uptake and iron transport in the intestines of chickens and in an in vitro model of the intestinal epithelium. Intestinal cells that are exposed to high doses of nanoparticles showed increased iron transport and this is because nanoparticles could disrupt the cell membrane. Chickens that are acutely exposed to carboxylated particles (50 nm in diameter) showed lower iron absorption than unexposed or chronically exposed birds. Chronic exposure caused remodeling of the intestinal villi, which increased the surface area available for iron absorption. The agreement between the in vitro and in vivo results suggests that our in vitro intestinal epithelium model is potentially useful for toxicology studies.

Last Modified: 7/24/2014