A Combo of Nanoparticles and Contaminants may Harm Our Cells

by Rishika Gupta on  August 21, 2018 at 11:20 PM Research News
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Deadly combination: contaminants and nanoparticles when combined can cause damage to our cells, finds a new study. The findings of this study are published in the Nanotoxicology journal.
 A Combo of Nanoparticles and Contaminants may Harm Our Cells
A Combo of Nanoparticles and Contaminants may Harm Our Cells

Nanoparticles are becoming increasingly widespread in our environment. Thousands of products contain nanoparticles because of their unique properties. Silver nanoparticles are one example: They have an effective antibacterial effect and can be found in refrigerators, sports clothes, cosmetics, toothbrushes, water filters, etc.

Professor Frank Kjeldsen, SDU, has lad a cell study, that, in his view, causes concern.

There is a significant difference between how the cells react when exposed to nanosilver alone and when they are exposed to a cocktail of nanosilver and cadmium ions. Cadmium ions are naturally found everywhere around us on Earth.

In the study, 72 pct. of the cells died, when exposed to both nanosilver and cadmium ions. When exposed to nanosilver only, 25 pct. Died. When exposed to cadmium ions only, 12 pct. died.

The study was conducted on human liver cancer cells.

  • This study indicates, that we should not look at nanoparticles isolated when we investigate and discuss the effects, they may have on our health. We need to take cocktail effects into account, said Professor Frank Kjeldsen, Dept of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, SDU, adding:
  • Products with nanoparticles are being developed and manufactured every day, but in most countries, there are no regulations, so there is no way of knowing what and how many nanoparticles are being released into the environment. In my opinion, this should be stopped.


Other studies, led by Professor Kjeldsen have previously shown that human cells interact with metal nanoparticles.

One study showed that nano-silver leads to the formation of free radicals in cells and changes in the form and amount of proteins. Many serious diseases are characterized by an overproduction of free radicals in cells. This applies to cancer and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

His research into metal nanoparticles is backed by an ERC Grant of 14 m DKK.

Source: Eurekalert

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