Profiling Non-Coding RNA Changes Associated with 16 Different Engineered Nanomaterials in a Mouse Airway Exposure Model

Joseph Ndika, Piia Karisola, Pia Kinaret, Marit Ilves, Harri Alenius

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Perturbations in cellular molecular events and their associated biological processes provide opportunities for hazard assessment based on toxicogenomic profiling. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are transcribed from DNA but are typically not translated into full-length proteins. Via epigenetic regulation, they play important roles in organismal response to environmental stress. The effects of nanoparticles on this important part of the epigenome are understudied. In this study, we investigated changes in lncRNA associated with hazardous inhalatory exposure of mice to 16 engineered nanomaterials (ENM)-4 ENM (copper oxide, multi-walled carbon nanotubes, spherical titanium dioxide, and rod-like titanium dioxide particles) with 4 different surface chemistries (pristine, COOH, NH2, and PEG). Mice were exposed to 10 µg of ENM by oropharyngeal aspiration for 4 consecutive days, followed by cytological analyses and transcriptomic characterization of whole lung tissues. The number of significantly altered non-coding RNA transcripts, suggestive of their degrees of toxicity, was different for each ENM type. Particle surface chemistry and shape also had varying effects on lncRNA expression. NH2 and PEG caused the strongest and weakest responses, respectively. Via correlational analyses to mRNA expression from the same samples, we could deduce that significantly altered lncRNAs are potential regulators of genes involved in mitotic cell division and DNA damage response. This study sheds more light on epigenetic mechanisms of ENM toxicity and also emphasizes the importance of the lncRNA superfamily as toxicogenomic markers of adverse ENM exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1085
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • long non-coding RNA
  • nanoparticles
  • toxicogenomics

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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