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Molecular Effects of Silicon Dioxide Nanoparticles on Cell Survival Signaling of Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) Neurons and Schwann Cells

A. Jain, A.R. Jaiswal, S. Lu, Y.Y.W. Wong, A. Bhushan, S.W. Leung, C.K. Daniels, J.C.K. Lai
Idaho State University, US

Keywords: periphernal nervous system, silicon dioxide nanoparticles, neurotoxicity


The molecular mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of peripheral neuropathies have not been fully elucidated. To meet the need for suitable cell culture models in vitro of peripheral nervous system (PNS) neural cells that allow long-term studies, we have developed unique cell culture models in vitro consisting of immortalized dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons and Schwann cells. We previously found silicon dioxide (SiO2) nanoparticles induce differential cytotoxic effects in neurons-like SK-N-SH neuroblastoma and astrocytes-like U87 astrocytoma cells. However, because cell survival signaling mechanisms and the effects of SiO2 nanoparticles thereon in both DRG neurons and Schwann cells are poorly understood, we have determined these important paradigms in the two cell models. Results of our on-going studies show that both cultured DRG neurons and Schwann cells express detectable levels of ERK and p-ERK, which are signaling proteins important in regulating cell survival/proliferation. Moreover, exposure of the two PNS neural cell types to SiO2 nanoparticles (1, 25, 50 μg/mL) for 48 hours induced alterations in their expression of p-ERK. Other studies are in progress to further elucidate these interesting phenomena. Thus, our findings have functional and pathophysiological implications in cell survival signaling in PNS neural cells and in chemically-induced peripheral neuropathy. [198 words]
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