Postdoctoral project Z4-8229

University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Electrical Engineering

Slovenian Research Agency

Research projects (co)funded by the Slovenian Research Agency.


Member of  University of Ljubljana UL Faculty of Electrical Engineering
Code Z4-8229
Project The effects of different types of nanoparticles on neural cell and macrophages – analysis of short-term and long-term effects on cell stress, differentiation and cell signalling
Period 1.5.2017 – 30.4.2019
Range on year 1 FTE
Head Jasna Lojk
Research activity Biotechnical sciences
Research Organisation link on SICRIS
Abstract In recent years, the exposure to environmental and engineered nanoparticles (NPs) has increased through environmental pollution and increased use of different engineered NPs in consumer products. Such NPs can enter and accumulate in the body, including the brain, where they can cause different health-related problems. Despite that, there are still many unanswered questions concerning the mechanisms of NP neurotoxicity, especially regarding potential long-term effects that could affect cell differentiation and lead to neurodegeneration. Moreover, several recent studies have shown that NPs not only affect the cells through direct cell damage but also through more subtle influences such as changes in cell signalling. Unfortunately, research in the potential health risks of NP exposure lags behind the rapid industrial development and commercialization of nanotechnology.

This postdoctoral project is a part of a broader studies of potential toxic effects of selected industrial and biomedical nanoparticles inside the Group for nano and biotechnological application, Faculty of electrical engineering University of Ljubljana.

Inside the postdoctoral project we will analyse potential cytotoxicity and related mechanisms of the selected relevant engineered NP types (e.g. SiO2, TiO2, TiO2 silver) in a human neural cell model in vitro including general toxicity mechanisms, NP-cell interactions and NP-induced changes in cell signalling.

With this project we want to contribute to better understanding of the mechanisms of NP toxicity on neural cells both following short and long exposure times with the focus on direct cytotoxicity, stress response and altered cell signalling  Our analysis of neurotoxicity of specific engineered NPs will also enable us to better understand the relations between NP properties, their toxicity mechanisms and possible changes in cell signalling pathways, which could have profound effects on cell and tissue functions, and thus help us identify potential hazards of the analysed NPs that are widely used in industrial and consumer products.

Researchers link on SICRIS
The phases of the project and their realization WP1   NP uptake, toxicity and morphological analysis

Basic cytotoxicity assays will give us a good general view on the possible mechanisms of NP toxicity and information on their uptake pathway and intracellular fate in human neuroblastoma cell models. These studies will be a basis for a further, more detailed investigation into the mechanisms of observed toxicity.

WP2   Short-term effects of NPs on cell signalling

Different NP toxicity mechanisms, from ROS, inflammation, genotoxicity and apoptosis, are tightly linked to changes in cell signalling patterns. Analysis of the activity of several different signalling pathways related to cell stress and inflammation and possible mode of their activation, will help us better understand the toxicity mechanisms also on molecular level, and evaluate possible indirect consequences of the observed NP induced toxicity on neural cells.

WP3   Long-term effects of NPs on important cell processes

We will establish protocols for neuroblastoma cells differentiation to perform studies of long-term exposure to nanoparticles. We will focus on the effects of different engineered nanoparticles on direct cytotoxicity and molecular changes indicating inflammation and changes in cellular signalisation.

Citations for bibliographic records link on SICRIS

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