We examined the genotoxicity of magnetite nanoparticles (primary particle size: 10 nm) on human A549 and Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) AA8 cells. Six hours’ treatment with the particles dose-dependently increased the frequency of micronuclei (MN) in the A549 and CHO AA8 cells up to 5.2% and 5.0% at a dose of 200 µg/ml (34 µg/cm2), respectively. In A549 cells, treatment with the nanoparticles (2 µg/ml) for 1 hr induced H2AX phosphorylation, which is suggestive of DNA double strand breaks (DSB). Treating CHO AA8 cells with 2 µg/ml (0.34 µg/cm2) magnetite for 1 hour resulted in a five times higher frequency of sister chromatid exchange (SCE) than the control level. We detected reactive oxygen species (ROS) in CHO cells treated with the particles. These findings indicate that magnetite nanoparticles induce ROS in mammalian cells, leading to the direct or indirect induction of DSB, followed by clastogenic events including MN and SCE.
2013 The Japanese Society of Toxicology