Apart from studies on cell cultures outside the body (in vitro), experiments are performed on laboratory animals (in vivo) over longer periods of time (several days through to several months). While ultrahigh does of silicon dioxide (SiO2) trigger inflammatory reactions, treatment with lower doses is observed not to effect toxicity in animals.


Studies on laboratory rats of different ages inhaling silicon dioxide particles revealed that in spite of identical treatment, old rats reacted more sensitively than the young or adult ones. The SiO2 particles were observed to affect the lungs and the hearts of the rats [1].

In another study dedicated to a direct comparison between crystalline and amorphous silicon dioxides, rats were treated with the substances to analyze the inflammatory reactions in the lung as well as other effects (e.g. genotoxicity ). It is beyond dispute that the crystalline type (quartz) triggers severe inflammation which does not heal and has serious consequences. High doses of amorphous SiO2, on the other hand, were found to trigger short-time inflammation without any further effects after healing [2]. These results were proved by further studies which attribute the effects of the amorphous type to crystalline impurities.


As for the in vitro studies, dosages in vivo are decisive if one takes into account that very high doses may cause an overload effect that can trigger, for example, fibroses [3].


Literature arrow down

  1. Chen, Z et al. (2008), Environ Sci Technol, 42(23): 8985-8992.
  2. Johnston, CJ et al. (2000), Toxicol Sci, 56(2): 405-413.
  3. Nishimori, H et al. (2009), Eur J Pharm Biopharm, 72(3): 626-629.


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