Main content area

Endocytosis, intracellular fate, accumulation, and agglomeration of titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles in the rainbow trout liver cell line RTL-W1

Lammel, Tobias, Mackevica, Aiga, Johansson, Bengt R., Sturve, Joachim
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.15 pp. 15354-15372
Oncorhynchus mykiss, atomic absorption spectrometry, cell lines, cysteine, diet, endocytosis, endosomes, extracellular space, fish, gene expression, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione synthase, glutathione transferase, hepatocytes, homeostasis, liver, mitochondria, nanoparticles, particle size, physiological transport, superoxide dismutase, titanium dioxide, transcription factors, transmission electron microscopy
There is increasing evidence that titanium dioxide (TiO₂) nanoparticles (NPs) present in water or diet can be taken up by fish and accumulate in internal organs including the liver. However, their further fate in the organ is unknown. This study provides new insights into the interaction, uptake mechanism, intracellular trafficking, and fate of TiO₂ NPs (Aeroxide® P25) in fish liver parenchymal cells (RTL-W1) in vitro using high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and single particle inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (spICP-MS) as complementary analytical techniques. The results demonstrate that following their uptake via caveolae-mediated endocytosis, TiO₂ NPs were trafficked through different intracellular compartments including early endosomes, multivesicular bodies, and late endosomes/endo-lysosomes, and eventually concentrated inside multilamellar vesicles. TEM and spICP-MS results provide evidence that uptake was nano-specific. Only NPs/NP agglomerates of a specific size range (~ 30–100 nm) were endocytosed; larger agglomerates were excluded from uptake and remained located in the extracellular space/exposure medium. NP number and mass inside cells increased linearly with time and was associated with an increase in particle diameter suggesting intracellular agglomeration/aggregation. No alterations in the expression of genes regulated by the redox balance-sensitive transcription factor Nrf-2 including superoxide dismutase, glutamyl cysteine ligase, glutathione synthetase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione S-transferase were observed. This shows that, despite the high intracellular NP burden (~ 3.9 × 10² ng Ti/mg protein after 24 h) and NP-interaction with mitochondria, cellular redox homeostasis was not significantly affected. This study contributes to a better mechanistic understanding of in vitro particokinetics as well as the potential fate and effects of TiO₂ NPs in fish liver cells.