Nanoparticle Exposure May Increase Atherosclerosis and Heart Disease Risk Interview with:
Lauren Petrick Ph.D.
The Lipid Research Laboratory
Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and Research Institute
The Technion Center of Excellence in Exposure Science and Environmental Health (TCEEH), Technion, Haifa, Israel What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Petrick: Nanoparticles are becoming ubiquitous in our environment, leading to higher chances of exposure. This exposure may be especially chronic for those employed in research laboratories and in high tech industry where workers handle, manufacture, use and dispose of nanoparticles. Furthermore, nanoparticle exposure to the general population occurs in the form of ultrafine particles (UFP) primarily from transportation exhaust. While nanoparticle toxicity has been investigated in general terms, its atherogenic effects and mechanisms of nanoparticle atherogenicity are not yet clear. Therefore, we decided to expose engineered silica nanoparticles to macrophages in order to investigate cell atherogenicity and cytotoxicity. What we found is that the nanoparticles were cytotoxic and increased oxidative stress and triglyceride (TG) accumulation in the cells.  Triglyceride accumulation in macrophages was not due to a decrease in triglyceride cell secretion or to an increased triglyceride biosynthesis rate, but was the result of attenuated triglyceride hydrolysis secondary to decreased lipase activity and both adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) and hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) protein expression. This supports a possible role for ultrafine particles in exacerbating atherosclerosis development, and shows increased cardiovascular risk associated with nanoparticle exposure. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Petrick: Nanomedicine innovation has grown rapidly in recent years, and its applications hold immense promise for advancing existing therapies and diagnostics. However, as these technologies are being developed, their impact on cellular responses and toxicity need to be evaluated for both acute and chronic exposures. Furthermore, airborne nanoparticle monitoring should be implemented in workplaces of nanotechnology research and industries, as well as in general air pollution monitoring locations. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Petrick: Further in-vivo studies are needed to corroborate the in-vitro findings, particularly those that mimic the likely exposure route (e.g. inhalation, clinical administration, etc).


Silicon dioxide nanoparticles increase macrophage atherogenicity: Stimulation of cellular cytotoxicity, oxidative stress, and triglycerides accumulation

Petrick, L., Rosenblat, M., Paland, N. and Aviram, M. (2014), Silicon dioxide nanoparticles increase macrophage atherogenicity: Stimulation of cellular cytotoxicity, oxidative stress, and triglycerides accumulation. Environ. Toxicol.. doi: 10.1002/tox.22084

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Last Updated on January 15, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD