Gastrointestinal tract exposure to particles and DNA damage in animals: A review of studies before, during and after the peak of nanotoxicology

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Humans ingest particles and fibers on daily basis. Non-digestible carbohydrates are beneficial to health and food additives are considered safe. However, titanium dioxide (E171) has been banned in the European Union because the European Food Safety Authority no longer considers it non-genotoxic. Ingestion of microplastics and nanoplastics are novel exposures; their potential hazardous effects to humans have been under the radar for many years. In this review, we have assessed the association between oral exposure to man-made particles/fibers and genotoxicity in gastrointestinal tract cells and secondary tissues. We identified a total of 137 studies on oral exposure to particles and fibers. This was reduced to 49 papers with sufficient quality and relevance, including exposures to asbestos, diesel exhaust particles, titanium dioxide, silver nanoparticles, zinc oxide, synthetic amorphous silica and certain other nanomaterials. Nineteen studies show positive results, 25 studies show null results, and 5 papers show equivocal results on genotoxicity. Recent studies seem to show null effects, whereas there is a higher proportion of positive genotoxicity results in early studies. Genotoxic effects seem to cluster in studies on diesel exhaust particles and titanium dioxide, whereas studies on silver nanoparticles, zinc oxide and synthetic amorphous silica seem to show mainly null effects. The most widely used genotoxic tests are the alkaline comet assay and micronucleus assay. There are relatively few results on genotoxicity using reliable measurements of oxidatively damaged DNA, DNA double strand breaks (γH2AX assay) and mutations. In general, evidence suggest that oral exposure to particles and fibers is associated with genotoxicity in animals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108491
JournalMutation Research - Reviews in Mutation Research
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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© 2024 The Authors

    Research areas

  • Animals, Comet assay, DNA damage, Exposure, Micronucleus assay, Nanomaterials, Oral

ID: 389671453