Investigations of acute effects of polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride micro- and nanoplastics in an advanced in vitro triple culture model of the healthy and inflamed intestine

Date de publication 22 février 2021

Auteurs Busch, Mathias; Bredeck, Gerrit; Kaempfer, Angela A. M.; Schins, Roel P. F.

Sources Environmental Research : 193



The continuous degradation of plastic waste in the environment leads to the generation of micro- and nanoplastic fragments and particles. Due to the ubiquitous presence of plastic particles in natural habitats as well as in food, beverages and tap water, oral exposure of the human population with plastic particles occurs worldwide. We investigated acute toxicological effects of polystyrene (PS) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) micro- and nanoparticles in an advanced in vitro triple culture model (Caco-2/HT29-MTX-E12/THP-1) mimicking the healthy and inflamed human intestine to study the effect of inflammatory processes on plastic particle toxicity. We monitored barrier integrity, cytotoxicity, cell layer integrity, DNA damage, the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1 beta, IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-alpha) and mucus distribution after 24 h of particle exposure. In addition, we investigated cytotoxicity, DNA damage and IL-1 beta release in monocultures of the three cell lines. Amine-modified polystyrene nanoparticles (PS-NH2) served as a positive control for particle-induced toxicity. No acute effects in the investigated endpoints were observed in the model of the healthy intestine after PS or PVC exposure. However, during active inflammatory processes, exposure to PVC particles was found to augment the release of IL-1 beta and to cause a loss of epithelial cells. Our results suggest that prevalent intestinal inflammation might be an important factor to consider when assessing the hazard of ingested micro- and nanoplastic particles.

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