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Brain Inflammation, Blood Brain Barrier dysfunction and Neuronal Synaptophysin Decrease after Inhalation Exposure to Titanium Dioxide Nano-aerosol in Aging Rats

  • Disdier, Clémence1
  • Chalansonnet, Monique2
  • Gagnaire, François2
  • Gaté, Laurent2
  • Cosnier, Frédéric2
  • Devoy, Jérôme2
  • Saba, Wadad3
  • Lund, Amie K.4
  • Brun, Emilie5
  • Mabondzo, Aloïse1
  • 1 Service de Pharmacologie et d’Immunoanalyse, UMR 0496, CEA, Université Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, F-91191, France , Gif-sur-Yvette (France)
  • 2 INRS, Département Toxicologie et Biométrologie, Rue du Morvan, CS 60027, Vandœuvre Cedex, 54519, France , Vandœuvre Cedex (France)
  • 3 Inserm, CEA, Université Paris-Saclay, UMR 1023 - ERL 9218 CNRS, IMIV, Orsay, F-91406, France , Orsay (France)
  • 4 Department of Biological Sciences, Advanced Environmental Research Institute, University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA , Denton (United States)
  • 5 Laboratoire de Chimie Physique, UMR CNRS 8000 Université Paris-Saclay 91405, Orsay, France , Orsay (France)
Published Article
Scientific Reports
Springer Nature
Publication Date
Sep 22, 2017
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-12404-5
Springer Nature


Notwithstanding potential neurotoxicity of inhaled titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2 NPs), the toxicokinetics and consequences on blood-brain barrier (BBB) function remain poorly characterized. To improve risk assessment, we need to evaluate the impact on BBB under realistic environmental conditions and take into account vulnerability status such as age. 12–13 week and 19-month-old male rats were exposed by inhalation to 10 mg/m3 of TiO2 nano-aerosol (6 hrs/day, 5 day/week, for 4 weeks). We showed an age-dependent modulation of BBB integrity parameters suggesting increased BBB permeability in aging rats. This alteration was associated with a significant increase of cytokines/chemokines in the brain, including interleukin-1β, interferon-γ, and fractalkine as well as a decreased expression of synaptophysin, a neuronal activity marker. These observations, in absence of detectable titanium in the brain suggest that CNS-related effects are mediated by systemic-pathway. Moreover, observations in terms of BBB permeability and brain inflammation underline age susceptibility. Even if TiO2 NPs were not evidenced in the brain, we observed an association between the exposure to TiO2 NPs and the dysregulation of BBB physiology associated with neuroinflammation and decreased expression of neuronal activity marker, which was further exacerbated in the brain of aged animal’s.

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