Nuclear microprobe study of TiO2-penetration in the epidermis of human skin xenografts

Zs Kertész, Z. Szikszai, E. Gontier, P. Moretto, J. E. Surlève-Bazeille, B. Kiss, I. Juhász, J. Hunyadi, Á Z. Kiss

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

51 Citations (Scopus)


Titanium-dioxide is a widely used physical photoprotective component of various cosmetic products. However, very few experiments have been carried out on its penetration through the human epidermal barrier and its possible biological effects in vivo and in vitro. In the frame of the NANODERM EU5 project, the penetration of TiO2-nanoparticles through the epidermis of human foreskin grafts transplanted into SCID mice was investigated in the Debrecen and Bordeaux nuclear microprobe laboratories using combined IBA techniques. Transmission electron microscope studies of the same samples were also carried out in the DMPFCS laboratory. The skin grafts were treated with a hydrophobic emulsion containing micronised TiO2-nanoparticles in occlusion, for different time periods. Quantitative elemental concentrations and distributions have been determined in 14-16 μm thick freeze-dried sections obtained from quick frozen punch biopsies using STIM, PIXE and RBS analytical methods. Using both microscopic methods, we have observed nanoparticles having penetrated into the corneocyte layers of stratum corneum by direct visualisation in TEM and via their chemical fingerprint in PIXE. The human skin xenograft has proved to be a model particularly well adapted to such penetration studies.


  • Combined PIXE, STIM, RBS methods
  • Electron microscopy
  • Ion microscopy
  • Penetration into human skin
  • TiO nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation

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