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Susceptibility of Young and Adult Rats to the Oral Toxicity of Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles

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Abstract

Titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2 NPs) have potential applications as food additives, but concerns persist about their safety. Children are identified as having the highest exposure and may face the greatest health risks. However, the toxicological sensitivity of TiO2 NPs in different ages is not clear. Here, a comparative toxicity study of TiO2 NPs in 3-week (youth) and 8-week (adult) old Sprague-Dawley rats is reported following oral exposure at doses of 0, 10, 50, 200 mg kg−1 body weight per day for 30 days. The organ mass and histology, blood biochemistry and redox state, intestinal function, and biodistribution of NPs are characterized. The results show that TiO2 NPs induce different toxic effects on young and adult rats. The liver edema, heart injuries and non-allergic mast cell activation in stomach tissues are found in young rats. On the other hand, only slight injury in the liver and kidney and decreased intestinal permeability and molybdenum contents are found in adult rats. Furthermore, TiO2 NP exposure can provoke reductive stress (i.e., increased reduced glutathione (GSH)/oxidized glutathione (GSSG) ratios) in plasmas through enhancing the glucose and GSH levels in young rats or reducing the glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) acitivity and GSSG levels in adult rats. These results suggest that different ages may require different biomarkers for identifying and monitoring oral toxicity of nanoparticles.

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