Copper oxide nanoparticles (CuO NPs) have a widespread use in industry, chemistry, in production of electronic devices and as an antimicrobial agent. Although copper is an important biogenic element, CuO NPs are toxic with the ability to induce oxidative stress, apoptosis, cell cycle arrest or DNA damage. For humans, the inhalation route is the most common way of exposure to CuO NPs. In the body, CuO NPs may be either deposited in the lungs, or transported to other organs. Their presence usually causes oxidative stress or inflammatory responses, consequently leading to DNA damage. In this study, we investigated the effect of CuO NPs inhalation on DNA damage in a group of researches conducting animal exposure experiments. The subjects were exposed to various metal oxide nanoparticles, including CuO NPs, by inhalation for an average of 4.9 ± 0.4 years. The average mass concentration of Cu in the air during the experiment was 7.3 ± 3.2 ng/m3. Subjects not exposed to nanoparticles served as a control group. We applied micronucleus assay using Human Pan Centromeric probes to detect DNA damage and to distinguish between the frequency of centromere positive (CEN+) and centromere negative (CEN−) micronuclei (MN) in the binucleated cells. We did not find differences between both groups for either mean MN frequency (10.38 ± 2.50 vs. 11.88 ± 3.01 MN/1000 binucleated cells), or CEN+/CEN- ratio (58%/42% vs. 55%/45%), for the exposed and controls, respectively. In conclusion, inhalation of CuO NPs at this low-level exposure had no effect on chromosomal losses and/or breaks.Keywords: Copper oxide nanoparticles, inhalation, DNA damage
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