Application of a genetically engineered macrophage cell line for evaluating cellular effects of UV/US-treated poly(ethylene terephthalate) microplastics

Naoto Washihira, Mika Murakami, Miho Nakamura, Sho Fujii, Takahide Matsushima, Hiroshi Asahara, Akio Kishida, Tadao Tanabe, Tsuyoshi Kimura, Mako Kobayashi, Masaya Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Microplastic (MP) pollution is a global environmental problem. To understand the biological effects of MPs on humans, it is essential to evaluate the response of human cells to model plastic particles that mimic environmental MPs in a sensitive and non-invasive manner. In this study, we investigated the preparation of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) fragments with properties similar to those of environmental MPs by combining photo-oxidative degradation via ultraviolet (UV) irradiation with mechanical pulverization and hydrolysis via ultrasound (US) exposure. Combination of UV and US treatments decreased the particle size of PET fragments to 10.2 µm and increased their crystallinity and Young's modulus to 35.7 % and 0.73 GPa, respectively, while untreated PET fragments showed the particle size of 18.9 µm, the crystallinity of 33.7 %, and Young's modulus of 0.48 GPa. In addition, an increase in negative surface potential and O/C ratio were observed for UV/US-treated PET fragments, suggesting surface oxidation via UV/US treatment. Cytokine secretion from human macrophages was evaluated by a highly sensitive inflammation evaluation system using the HiBiT-based chemiluminescence detection method developed by genome editing technology. UV/US-treated PET fragments induced a 1.4 times higher level of inflammatory cytokine secretion on inflammatory macrophages than untreated ones, suggesting that the biological responses of PET fragments could be influenced by changes in material properties via oxidation. In conclusion, UV/US treatment enables efficient preparation of model plastic particles and is expected to provide new insights into the evaluation of biological effects using human cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113735
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Feb


  • Genome editing
  • Human macrophage
  • Poly(ethylene terephthalate) microplastic
  • UV irradiation
  • Ultrasonication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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