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Perturbation of gut microbiota plays an important role in micro/nanoplastics-induced gut barrier dysfunction

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Abstract

The widespread occurrence of microplastics (MPLs) and nanoplastics (NPLs), collectively abbreviated as M/NPLs, has markedly affected the ecosystem and has become a global threat to human health. Multiple investigations have shown that the chronic ingestion of M/NPLs negatively affects gut barrier function but the mechanism remains unclear. Herein, this research has investigated the toxic effects of pristine polystyrene (PS) M/NPLs, negatively charged carboxylated polystyrene M/NPLs (PS-COOH) and positively charged aminated polystyrene M/NPLs (PS-NH2) of two sizes (70 nm and 5 μm in diameter) in mice. Gavage of these PS M/NPLs for 28 days caused obvious injuries to the gut tract, leading to the decreased expression of tight junction proteins. The toxicity of the M/NPLs was ranked as PS-NH2 > PS-COOH > pristine PS. Oral administration of these M/NPLs resulted in marked gut microbiota dysbiosis. The M/NPLs-enriched genera generally contained opportunistic pathogens which are accompanied by a deteriorated intestinal barrier function, while most M/NPLs-decreased bacteria were beneficial microbes with known tight junction-promoting functions, implicating an important indirect toxic effect of gut microbiota dysbiosis in M/NPLs-induced gut barrier dysfunction. In conclusion, this research highlights the importance of gut microbiota in the toxicity of M/NPLs exposure on gut barrier function, providing novel insights into the adverse effects of M/NPLs exposure on human health.

Graphical abstract: Perturbation of gut microbiota plays an important role in micro/nanoplastics-induced gut barrier dysfunction

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Article information


Submitted
04 Jan 2021
Accepted
06 Apr 2021
First published
07 Apr 2021

Nanoscale, 2021, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

Perturbation of gut microbiota plays an important role in micro/nanoplastics-induced gut barrier dysfunction

J. Qiao, R. Chen, M. Wang, R. Bai, X. Cui, Y. Liu, C. Wu and C. Chen, Nanoscale, 2021, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D1NR00038A

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