Zinc oxide nanoparticles impair bacterial clearance by macrophages

Chia Der Lin, Yu Yi Kou, Chin Yu Liao, Ching Hao Li, Shiao Ping Huang, Yu Wen Cheng, Wei Chih Liao, Hao Xiang Chen, Pei Ling Wu, Jaw Jou Kang, Chen Chen Lee, Chih Ho Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: The extensive development of nanoparticles (NPs) and their widespread employment in daily life have led to an increase in environmental concentrations of substances that may pose a biohazard to humans. The aim of this work was to examine the effects of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs) on the host's pulmonary immune system response to nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) infection. Materials & Methods: A murine infection model was employed to assess pulmonary inflammation and bacterial clearance in response to exposure to ZnO-NPs. The molecular mechanisms underlying ZnO-NP-impaired macrophage activation were investigated. Results: Treatment with ZnO-NPs impaired macrophage activation, leading to a delay in NTHi clearance in the bronchial alveolar lavage fluids and lungs. Exposure to ZnO-NPs followed by NTHi challenge decreased levels of nitric oxide compared with NTHi infection alone. The effects of ZnO-NPs involved downregulation of NTHi-activated expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase and the translocation of active NF-kB into the nucleus. Conclusion: These results demonstrate that exposure to ZnO-NPs can impair innate immune responses and attenuate macrophage responses to bacterial infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1327-1339
Number of pages13
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2014


  • bronchial alveolar lavage fluid
  • macrophage
  • nitric oxide
  • nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae
  • zinc oxide nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Development
  • Medicine(all)


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