Proteomic profiling of halloysite clay nanotube exposure in intestinal cell co-culture

Xianyin Lai, Mangilal Agarwal, Yuri M. Lvov, Chetan Pachpande, Kody Varahramyan, Frank A. Witzmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Halloysite is aluminosilicate clay with a hollow tubular structure with nanoscale internal and external diameters. Assessment of halloysite biocompatibility has gained importance in view of its potential application in oral drug delivery. To investigate the effect of halloysite nanotubes on an in vitro model of the large intestine, Caco-2/HT29-MTX cells in monolayer co-culture were exposed to nanotubes for toxicity tests and proteomic analysis. Results indicate that halloysite exhibits a high degree of biocompatibility characterized by an absence of cytotoxicity, in spite of elevated pro-inflammatory cytokine release. Exposure-specific changes in expression were observed among 4081 proteins analyzed. Bioinformatic analysis of differentially expressed protein profiles suggest that halloysite stimulates processes related to cell growth and proliferation, subtle responses to cell infection, irritation and injury, enhanced antioxidant capability, and an overall adaptive response to exposure. These potentially relevant functional effects warrant further investigation in in vivo models and suggest that chronic or bolus occupational exposure to halloysite nanotubes may have unintended outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1316-1329
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Toxicology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013


  • Enterocytes
  • Halloysite
  • Intestinal epithelia
  • Label-free quantitative mass spectrometry
  • Proteomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Medicine(all)

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