An assessment of the toxicity of polypropylene microplastics in human derived cells

Jangsun Hwang, Daheui Choi, Seora Han, Jonghoon Choi, Jinkee Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

312 Citations (Scopus)


Environmental pollution caused by plastic waste is a growing global problem. Discarded plastic products and debris (microplastic particles)in the oceans detrimentally affect marine ecosystems and may impact human. Humans are exposed to plastic debris via the consumption of seafood and drinking water, contact with food packaging, or inhalation of particles. The accumulation of microplastic particles in humans has potential health risks such as cytotoxicity, hypersensitivity, unwanted immune response, and acute response like hemolysis. We investigated the cellular responses of secondary polypropylene microplastics (PP particles)of approximately ~20 μm and 25–200 μm in different condition and size to normal cells, immune cells, blood cells, and murine immune cells by cytokine analysis, ROS assay, polarization assay and proliferation assay. We found that PP particles showed low cytotoxicity effect in size and concentration manner, however, a high concentration, small sized, DMSO method of PP particles stimulated the immune system and enhanced potential hypersensitivity to PP particles via an increase in the levels of cytokines and histamines in PBMCs, Raw 264.7 and HMC-1 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-669
Number of pages13
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sept 20

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


Dive into the research topics of 'An assessment of the toxicity of polypropylene microplastics in human derived cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this