Sisler JD, Pirela SV, Shaffer J, Mihalchik AL, Chisholm WP, Andrew ME, Schwegler-Berry D, Castranova V, Demokritou P, Qian Y. 2016. Toxicological assessment of CoO and La2O3 metal oxide nanoparticles in human small airway epithelial cells. Toxicol Sci 13(1):42.
Cobalt monoxide (CoO) and lanthanum oxide (La2O3) nanoparticles are 2 metal oxide nanoparticles with different redox potentials according to their semiconductor properties. By utilizing these two nanoparticles, this study sought to determine how metal oxide nanoparticle’s mode of toxicological action is related to their physio-chemical properties in human small airway epithelial cells (SAEC). We investigated cellular toxicity, production of superoxide radicals and alterations in gene expression related to oxidative stress, and cellular death at 6 and 24 h following exposure to CoO and La2O3 (administered doses: 0, 5, 25, and 50 µg/ml) nanoparticles. CoO nanoparticles induced gene expression related to oxidative stress at 6 h. After characterizing the nanoparticles, transmission electron microscope analysis showed SAEC engulfed CoO and La2O3 nanoparticles. CoO nanoparticles were toxic after 6 and 24 h of exposure to 25.0 and 50.0 µg/ml administered doses, whereas, La2O3 nanoparticles were toxic only after 24 h using the same administered doses. Based upon the Volumetric Centrifugation Method in vivo Sedimentation, Diffusion, and Dosimetry, the dose of CoO and La2O3 nanoparticles delivered at 6 and 24 h were determined to be: CoO: 1.25, 6.25, and 12.5 µg/ml; La2O3: 5, 25, and 50 µg/ml and CoO: 4, 20, and 40 µg/ml; and La2O3: 5, 25, 50 µg/ml, respectively. CoO nanoparticles produced more superoxide radicals and caused greater stimulation of total tyrosine and threonine phosphorylation at both 6 and 24 h when compared with La2O3 nanoparticles. Taken together, these data provide evidence that different toxicological modes of action were involved in CoO and La2O3 metal oxide nanoparticle-induced cellular toxicity.