Induction of size-dependent breakdown of blood-milk barrier in lactating mice by TiO2 nanoparticles

Chengke Zhang, Shumei Zhai, Ling Wu, Yuhong Bai, Jianbo Jia, Yi Zhang, Bin Zhang, Bing Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


This study aims to investigate the potential nanotoxic effects of TiO2 nanoparticles (TNPs) to dams and pups during lactation period. TiO2 nanoparticles are accumulated in mammary glands of lactating mice after i.v. administration. This accumulation of TiO2 NP likely causes a ROS-induced disruption of tight junction of the blood-milk barrier as indicated by the loss of tight junction proteins and the shedding of alveolar epithelial cells. Compared to larger TNPs (50 nm), smaller ones (8 nm) exhibit a higher accumulation in mammary glands and are more potent in causing perturbations to blood-milk barrier. An alarming finding is that the smaller TNPs (8 nm) are transferred from dams to pups through breastfeeding, likely through the disrupted blood-milk barrier. However, during the lactation period, the nutrient quality of milk from dams and the early developmental landmarks of the pups are not affected by above perturbations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0122591
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 7 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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