Characterizing the interaction between micro(nano)plastics and simulated body fluids and their impact on human lung epithelial cells

Saygin H., Soyocak A., Baysal A., Saridag A. M.

Journal of Environmental Science and Health - Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering, vol.58, no.10, pp.855-868, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 58 Issue: 10
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/10934529.2023.2243190
  • Journal Name: Journal of Environmental Science and Health - Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aerospace Database, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, Environment Index, Greenfile, INSPEC, MEDLINE, Metadex, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.855-868
  • Keywords: cytotoxicity, Gamble’s solution, in vitro, lysosomal, Nanoplastics, PET, plastic additives
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Micro(nano)plastics are considered an emerging threat to human health because they can interact with biological systems. In fact, these materials have already been found in the human body, such as in the lungs. However, limited data are available on the behavior of these materials under biological conditions and their impact on human cells, specifically on alveolar epithelial cells. In this study, micro(nano)plastics were exposed to various simulated biological fluids (artificial lysosomal fluids and Gamble’s solution) for 2–80 h. Pristine and treated plastic particles were characterized based on their surface chemistry, zeta potentials, and elemental composition. Various toxicological endpoints (mitochondrial membrane potential, lactate dehydrogenase, protein, and antioxidant levels) were examined using A549 lung carcinoma cells. The surface characteristics of the treated micro(nano)plastics and the toxicological endpoints of A549 cells were found to be influenced by the simulated biological media, specifically with high concentrations of the treated micro(nano)plastics and increasing exposure under biological conditions. Moreover, the toxicological endpoints were strongly linked to the chemistry of plastics and included multiple processes in response to the plastics; different biological pathways were obtained in artificial lysosomal fluid and Gamble’s solution.