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Acute And Sub-Chronic Effects Of Microplastics (3 And 10 µm) On The Human Intestinal Cells HT-29

G. Visalli, A. Facciolà, Marianna Pruiti Ciarello, G. de Marco, M. Maisano, A. Di Pietro
Published 2021 · Medicine

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Due to ingestion of contaminated foods, the human gastrointestinal tract is the most likely site of exposure to microplastics (MPs) with gut barrier dysfunction and intestinal inflammation. Aimed to assess the effects induced by MPs with different granulometry (polystyrene (PS) 3 and 10 µm), we performed an in vitro study by using the human intestinal cell line HT29. As a novelty, we assessed the sub-chronic exposure extending the treatment up to 48 days simulating the in vivo situation. In the range of 100–1600 particles mL−1, both the PS suspensions had moderate cytotoxicity after 24 h with percentages of mortality between 6.7 and 21.6 for the 10 µm and 6.1 and 29.6 for the 3 µm PS. Microscopic observation highlighted a more pronounced lysosomal membrane permeabilization in HT29 exposed to PS 3µm. Reactive oxygen species production was higher in cells exposed to PS 10 µm, but sub-chronic exposure highlighted the ability of the cells to partially neutralize this effect. Comet-assay confirmed the temporary oxidative damage that was PS-induced. Overall, considering the very fast turnover of intestinal cells, the increase in cell mortality, equal to 25% and 11% for 3 and 10 µm PS-MPs for each time point, could trigger intestinal disorders due to prolonged exposure.
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