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Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 93, Issue 7, pp 1817–1833 | Cite as

Uptake and effects of orally ingested polystyrene microplastic particles in vitro and in vivo

  • Valerie Stock
  • Linda BöhmertEmail author
  • Elisa Lisicki
  • Rafael Block
  • Julia Cara-Carmona
  • Laura Kim Pack
  • Regina Selb
  • Dajana Lichtenstein
  • Linn Voss
  • Colin J. Henderson
  • Elke Zabinsky
  • Holger Sieg
  • Albert Braeuning
  • Alfonso Lampen
Regulatory Toxicology

Abstract

Evidence exists that humans are exposed to plastic microparticles via diet. Data on intestinal particle uptake and health-related effects resulting from microplastic exposure are scarce. Aim of the study was to analyze the uptake and effects of microplastic particles in human in vitro systems and in rodents in vivo. The gastrointestinal uptake of microplastics was studied in vitro using the human intestinal epithelial cell line Caco-2 and thereof-derived co-cultures mimicking intestinal M-cells and goblet cells. Different sizes of spherical fluorescent polystyrene (PS) particles (1, 4 and 10 µm) were used to study particle uptake and transport. A 28-days in vivo feeding study was conducted to analyze transport at the intestinal epithelium and oxidative stress response as a potential consequence of microplastic exposure. Male reporter gene mice were treated three times per week by oral gavage with a mixture of 1 µm (4.55 × 107 particles), 4 µm (4.55 × 107 particles) and 10 µm (1.49 × 106 particles) microplastics at a volume of 10 mL/kg/bw. Effects of particles on macrophage polarization were investigated using the human cell line THP-1 to detect a possible impact on intestinal immune cells. Altogether, the results of the study demonstrate the cellular uptake of a minor fraction of particles. In vivo data show the absence of histologically detectable lesions and inflammatory responses. The particles did not interfere with the differentiation and activation of the human macrophage model. The present results suggest that oral exposure to PS microplastic particles under the chosen experimental conditions does not pose relevant acute health risks to mammals.

Keywords

Microplastic Oral uptake Particle size Gastrointestinal barrier HOTT mice 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Anja Köllner and Beatrice Rosskopp for technical assistance. This work was supported by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (Projects 1322-675, 1322-622 and 1323-102).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

204_2019_2478_MOESM1_ESM.docx (12.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 12830 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valerie Stock
    • 1
  • Linda Böhmert
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elisa Lisicki
    • 1
  • Rafael Block
    • 1
  • Julia Cara-Carmona
    • 1
  • Laura Kim Pack
    • 1
  • Regina Selb
    • 1
  • Dajana Lichtenstein
    • 1
  • Linn Voss
    • 1
  • Colin J. Henderson
    • 2
  • Elke Zabinsky
    • 3
  • Holger Sieg
    • 1
  • Albert Braeuning
    • 1
  • Alfonso Lampen
    • 1
  1. 1.German Federal Institute for Risk AssessmentBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Systems Medicine, Jacqui Wood Cancer Centre, School of Medicine, Ninewells HospitalUniversity of DundeeDundeeUK
  3. 3.Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and ToxicologyUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany

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