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Low-dose carbon-based nanoparticle-induced effects in A549 lung cells determined by biospectroscopy are associated with increases in genomic methylation

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Article number20207
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2/02/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Scientific Reports
Number of pages11
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Nanotechnology has introduced many manufactured carbon-based nanoparticles (CNPs) into our environment, generating a debate into their risks and benefits. Numerous nanotoxicology investigations have been carried, and nanoparticle-induced toxic effects have been reported. However, there remain gaps in our knowledge, primarily regarding mechanism. Herein, we assessed the global alterations induced by CNPs in A549 lung cells using biospectroscopy techniques, including attenuated total reflection Fourier-transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). A549 cells were treated with fullerene (C-60), long or short multi-walled carbon nanotubes, or single-walled carbon nanotubes at concentrations of 0.1 mg/L, 0.01 mg/L and 0.001 mg/L. Exposed cells were then analysed by ATR-FTIR spectroscopy and SERS. Spectra were pre-processed via computational analysis, and information on biochemical alterations in exposed cells were identified. Additionally, global DNA methylation levels in cells exposed to CNPs at 0.1 mg/L were determined using HPLC-MS and genetic regulators (for DNA methylation) were checked by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. It was found that CNPs exert marked effects in A549 cells and also contribute to increases in global DNA methylation. For the first time, this study highlights that real-world levels of nanoparticles can alter the methylome of exposed cells; this could have enormous implications for their regulatory assessment.