Nanomaterials are being used increasingly for commercial purposes, yet little is known about the potential health hazards such materials may pose to consumers and workers. Here we show that nano-sized titanium dioxide (TiO2), which is used widely as a photo-catalyst and in consumer products, administered subcutaneously to pregnant mice is transferred to the offspring and affects the genital and cranial nerve systems of the male offspring. Nanoparticles identified as TiO2 by energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy were found in testis and brain of exposed 6-week-old male mice. In the offspring of TiO2-injected mice, various functional and pathologic disorders, such as reduced daily sperm production and numerous caspase-3 (a biomarker of apoptosis) positive cells in the olfactory bulb of the brain, were observed. Our findings suggest the need for great caution to handle the nanomaterials for workers and consumers.
2009 by The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan