From the perspective of the immune system, nanomaterials (NMs) represent invading agents. Macrophages are immune cells residing in all organs and tissues as the first line of defense. Interactions of macrophages with NMs can determine the fate of NMs as well as their potential toxic effects. In the present study, we compared toxicity of four different types of NMs [NM-100 (TiO2, 110 nm), NM-110 (ZnO, 20 nm), NM-200 (SiO2, 150 nm) and NM-300K (Ag, 20 nm)], towards THP-1 macrophage-like cells. Cells were incubated with non-cytotoxic concentrations (1-25 µg/ml) of NMs for 24 hours and microarray technology was used to analyze changes in whole-genome expression. Gene expression profiling revealed a substantially different molecular response following exposure to diverse NMs. While NM-100 did not exert any significant effect on gene expression profile, all other NMs triggered a pro-inflammatory response characterized by an activation of the NF-κB transcription factor and induced expression of numerous chemokines and cytokines. NM-110 and NM-300K further modulated processes such as DNA damage response, oxidative and replication stress as well as cell cycle progression and proteasome function. We suppose that genotoxicity of ZnO and Ag NMs leading to DNA damage and alternatively to apoptosis in THP-1 macrophages is probably caused by the extensive intracellular dissolution of these NPs, as confirmed by TEM imaging.Keywords: Nanomaterials, toxicity, THP-1 macrophages, gene expression profiling
© This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.