Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles Induce Oxidative Stress and Alter Calcium Homeostasis in Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells (BEAS-2B)


The influence of 20 nm zinc oxide particles on intracellular calcium levels and gene expression was studied in human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B). There was a steep decline in cell numbers at concentration between 6-10 μg/mL. Intracellular ROS levels and LDH concentrations in the cell culture media were increased in dose-dependent manners. Exposure to ZnO increased intracellular calcium levels. Treatment with an antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) prevented cell loss indicating oxidative stress mediated cytotoxicity. Ca2+ concentrations were elevated by four fold compared to control cells and the elevation was partially attenuated when treated with NAC. Exposure to a sublethal dose of ZnO (5 μg/mL) increased the expression of BNIP, PRDX3, PRNP, and TXRND1 genes which were involved in apoptosis and OS responses. Thus, exposure of BEAS-2B cells to 20 nm ZnO results in 1) a dose- and time-dependent cytotoxicity reflected in cell viability reduction, elevated oxidative stress, and cell membrane damage, 2) a dose-dependent elevation of intracellular Ca2+ levels, and 3) several genes induced in apoptosis and OS responses.

Meeting Name

15th Annual Meeting of the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine (2008: Nov. 19-23, Indianapolis, IN)


Biological Sciences

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2008 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2008