At present, safety evaluation standards for nanofood additives are made based on the toxic effects of a single additive. Since the size, surface properties and chemical nature influence the toxicity of nanomaterials, the toxicity may have dramatically changed when nanomaterials are used as food additives in a complex system. Herein, we investigated the combined toxicity of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) and vitamin C (Vc, ascorbic acid). The results showed that Vc increased the cytotoxicity significantly compared with that of the ZnO only NPs. When the cells were exposed to ZnO NPs at a concentration less than 15 mg L −1 , or to Vc at a concentration less than 300 mg L −1 , there was no significant cytotoxicity, both in the case of gastric epithelial cell line (GES-1) and neural stem cells (NSCs). However, when 15 mg L −1 of ZnO NPs and 300 mg L −1 of Vc were introduced to cells together, the cell viability decreased sharply indicating significant cytotoxicity. Moreover, the significant increase in toxicity was also shown in the in vivo experiments. The dose of the ZnO NPs and Vc used in the in vivo study was calculated according to the state of food and nutrition enhancer standard. After repeated oral exposure to ZnO NPs plus Vc, the injury of the liver and kidneys in mice has been indicated by the change of these indices. These findings demonstrate that the synergistic toxicity presented in a complex system is essential for the toxicological evaluation and safety assessment of nanofood.
Nanoscale – Royal Society of Chemistry
Published: Oct 26, 2014
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