Silver nanoparticles induce p53-mediated apoptosis in human bronchial epithelial (BEAS-2B) cells

Ha Ryong Kim, Da Young Shin, Yong Joo Park, Chang We Park, Seung Min Oh, Kyu Hyuck Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Deregulated apoptosis has been associated with many lung diseases. Although many studies have reported the apoptotic effects exhibited by silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) in various circumstances, the apoptosis mechanism of Ag-NPs is unclear. We investigated oxidative stress and apoptosis in human normal bronchial epithelial (BEAS-2B) cells to elucidate the role of p53 in apoptosis by Ag-NPs. First, dispersion and stability of Ag-NPs improved using bronchial epithelial cell growth medium with 5% fetal bovine serum. Then, we observed oxidative stress in BEAS-2B cells exposed to Ag-NPs. Second, we carried out a cell death assay to measure DNA fragmentation as a biomarker of apoptosis. BEAS-2B cells were treated with p53-specific short interfering RNA (siRNA) or p53 inhibitor (pifithrin-α) to investigate whether p53 is involved in apoptosis by Ag-NPs. As a result, Ag-NPs significantly enhanced DNA fragmentation dose-dependently and treatment with p53 siRNA or pifithrin-α prevented DNA fragmentation. We also found that apoptosis-related genes (caspase-3, Bax, and Bcl-2) were regulated by Ag-NPs, which was detected by mRNA and protein levels. These results suggest that Ag-NPs induced p53-mediated apoptosis in BEAS-2B cells. Our findings may contribute to understanding the potential roles of Ag-NPs in pulmonary disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-412
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Toxicological Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Apoptosis
  • Silver nanoparticles
  • p53 gene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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