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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 891934, 14 pages
Research Article

Cerium Oxide Nanoparticles Induced Toxicity in Human Lung Cells: Role of ROS Mediated DNA Damage and Apoptosis

1Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), New Delhi 110025, India
2Nanomaterial Toxicology Group, CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR), P.O. Box 80, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226001, India

Received 27 February 2014; Revised 22 April 2014; Accepted 12 May 2014; Published 1 June 2014

Academic Editor: Haseeb Ahmad Khan

Copyright © 2014 Sandeep Mittal and Alok K. Pandey. 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.


Cerium oxide nanoparticles (CeO2 NPs) have promising industrial and biomedical applications. In spite of their applications, the toxicity of these NPs in biological/physiological environment is a major concern. Present study aimed to understand the molecular mechanism underlying the toxicity of CeO2 NPs on lung adenocarcinoma (A549) cells. After internalization, CeO2 NPs caused significant cytotoxicity and morphological changes in A549 cells. Further, the cell death was found to be apoptotic as shown by loss in mitochondrial membrane potential and increase in annexin-V positive cells and confirmed by immunoblot analysis of BAX, BCl-2, Cyt C, AIF, caspase-3, and caspase-9. A significant increase in oxidative DNA damage was found which was confirmed by phosphorylation of p53 gene and presence of cleaved poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP). This damage could be attributed to increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) with concomitant decrease in antioxidant “glutathione (GSH)” level. DNA damage and cell death were attenuated by the application of ROS and apoptosis inhibitors N-acetyl-L- cysteine (NAC) and Z-DEVD-fmk, respectively. Our study concludes that ROS mediated DNA damage and cell cycle arrest play a major role in CeO2 NPs induced apoptotic cell death in A549 cells. Apart from beneficial applications, these NPs also impart potential harmful effects which should be properly evaluated prior to their use.