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Marie Dorier

E171 food additive and titanium dioxide nanoparticle impact on in vitro intestinal cell models

Published on 16 November 2016
Thesis presented November 16, 2016

Micro-sized titanium dioxide (TiO2) particles are used for years by industrials for their attractive physical and chemical properties. The use of TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) is also constantly increasing, because the nanometric size gives new interesting properties to particles which industrials are looking for. In some daily-life products including paints, plastics, paper, medicines and food, micro-sized TiO2 particles are used as a pigment for their opacifying and whitening capacities. The use of TiO2 as a food additive, i.e. E171 in the EU, has been authorized in most countries since the 60ies, without any established acceptable daily intake, because of their low toxicity and intestinal absorption. However, it was recently shown that E171 can contain up to 43% of particles with diameter ranging from 1 to 100 nm, i.e. NPs. Still, E171 is not a nanomaterial as described in the European recommendation of definition because it contains less than 50% of NPs (in number). Food grade TiO2 is present in a wide range of food products while little is known about its toxicological impact to human health. The toxicity of ingested TiO2, either nano- or micro-sized, is increasingly documented, still E171 itself is rarely used in these studies.
According to in vivo and in vitro studies, TiO2 particles were proven relatively safe for intestinal cells, no cytotoxicity neither genotoxicity were reported. Nevertheless, particles were often reported to increase reactive oxygen species (ROS) cell content, to impair autophagic processes and modulate gene expression and the content of proteins involved in oxidative stress, endoplasmic reticulum stress and inflammatory response regulation. Interestingly, their reported impact on intestinal cells suggests alteration of almost all the components of the intestinal barrier function, i.e. microbiota, mucus, cell junctions and transporters. This intestinal barrier function is altered in patients suffering from intestinal bowel diseases, these persons are thus possibly more sensitive to mineral particulate in food.The present study aimed at improving knowledge on the toxicity of food-grade TiO2. To this purpose, the impact of E171 was evaluated on in vitro cell models representative of the human intestinal epithelium, i.e. a model of differentiated Caco-2 enterocytes, a model of mucus-secreting epithelium obtained by coculture of Caco-2 and HT29-MTX mucus-secreting cells and a model of the follicle-associated epithelium, which lines Peyer patches, obtained by coculture of Caco-2(C1) and RajiB cells. These cell models were either acutely exposed for 6 h, 24 h and 48 h or chronically exposed for 21 days to E171. In parallel, they were exposed to two model TiO2-NPs, A12 which has the same crystalline structure as E171 and P25, a well-documented TiO2-NPs. Our results show that E171 and TiO2-NPs induced no overt cell mortality but significant oxidative stress, and that they oxidatively damage DNA. They modulate the expression of genes involved in oxidative stress and endoplasmic reticulum stress regulation. They also modulate the expression of genes, as well as the content of proteins from mucus, ABC transporters and inflammatory markers, which are the main players of the intestinal barrier function and presumably increase epithelium sensitivity to xenobiotics. These data suggest that they may be implicated in the development or aggravation of inflammatory bowel diseases.

E171, TiO2, Nanoparticles, Intestinal epithelium, Toxicity, In vitro

On-line thesis.