Researchers from JRC have recently developed a multi-omics approach for the assessment of potential human health risks of nanomaterials used e.g. in consumer products or for medical applications. The methodology was applied to study the effects of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) in a human cell line, demonstrating its great potential and further contributing to better understanding how NPs interact with living systems.
Gold nanoparticles attracted enormous scientific and technological interest in the last decade due to their unique chemical properties, which are tuneable by changing NPs size, shape or surface chemistry. They are now increasingly used in consumer products such as cosmetics, food packaging, toothpastes, food supplements and lubricants, as well as in medicine for cell imaging, targeted drug delivery, cancer diagnostics and therapy. However, the biological (cellular and molecular) mechanisms that can be triggered by exposure of human cells to AuNPs are still not fully understood. The present work investigated the modifications that occur in the proteome and the metabolome profile of human colon adenocarcinoma cells (Caco-2) when exposed to two sizes (5 and 30 nm) of AuNPs.
The study has shown that the integration of omics technologies together with complementary methods offers a very promising tool to understand the toxicological effects of nanomaterials. Furthermore, the knowledge of the networks, processes and pathways that are modified after NPs exposure can be applied to improve drug design or to identify specific biomarkers of toxicity.
Read more in the article A combined proteomics and metabolomics approach to assess the effects of gold nanoparticles in vitro, Gioria S., Lobo Vicente J., Barboro P., La Spina R., Tomasi G., Urbán P., Kinsner-Ovaskainen A., Rossi F, Chassaigne H., Nanotoxicology, 2015, Dec 9:1-59. DOI:10.3109/17435390.2015.1121412.