Claudia Moia

Claudia Moia

Cranfield University, United Kingdom

Title: Cell type- and size-dependent in vitro toxicity of silica particles in human skin cells


Claudia Moia obtained her First’s Degree in 2009 and her Master’s Degree in October 2011 in Biotechnology at the University of Pavia (Italy). As of May 2012 she is working as an Early Stage Researcher in Cranfield University (UK) as part of EU-funded Marie Curie ITN (initial training programme) network called NANODRUG, aiming to complete her PhD in Toxicology in May 2015.


Silica nanoparticles (SiNP) have been increasingly appliedin biomedical areas includingimaging and drug delivery. Although their bulk counterpartsare generally regarded safe, the safety of SiNP and submicron silica particles (SMP) is yet to be established. This study aimed to investigate the size relevance of silica particles (SiP) in toxicity using twohuman skin cellsin vitro. Since fetal bovine serum (FBS) is commonly used in cell culture to mimic in vivo environment, SiP toxicity is also investigated in the presence and absence of FBS to model the consequences of exposure via systemic and topical routes. SiPsof different size were assessed at 10-200 µg/ml for their effect on cell growth, viability, and ability to induce apoptosis. SiNP20 nm induced toxicity in keratinocyte HaCaT and melanoma A375 cells in the presence and absence of FBS, whilst SiNP 70 nm, SMP200 nm and SMP500 nmwere toxic only in HaCaT cells in the absence of FBS. The toxicity in both types of cells was associated with the reduction of cell viability and induction of apoptosis. This study demonstrated size-dependent toxicity of SiP in both cell lines, with HaCaT beingmore sensitive.SiPshowed higher toxicity in the absence of FBS than in the presence of FBS, suggesting that they could be more toxic via topical route than systemic route. As no blood supply can reach epidermis where keratinocytes and melanocytes are located, SiP can interact directly with these cells, leading to toxicity.

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