Open access
Research Article
6 May 2021

The Kidney-Related Effects of Polystyrene Microplastics on Human Kidney Proximal Tubular Epithelial Cells HK-2 and Male C57BL/6 Mice

Publication: Environmental Health Perspectives
Volume 129, Issue 5
CID: 057003



Understanding the epidemic of chronic kidney disease of uncertain etiology may be critical for health policies and public health responses. Recent studies have shown that microplastics (MPs) contaminate our food chain and accumulate in the gut, liver, kidney, muscle, and so on. Humans manufacture many plastics-related products. Previous studies have indicated that particles of these products have several effects on the gut and liver. Polystyrene (PS)-MPs (PS-MPs) induce several responses, such as oxidative stress, and affect living organisms.


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of PS-MPs in kidney cells in vitro and in vivo.


PS-MPs were evaluated in human kidney proximal tubular epithelial cells (HK-2 cells) and male C57BL/6 mice. Mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS), endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, inflammation, and autophagy were analyzed in kidney cells. In vivo, we evaluated biomarkers of kidney function, kidney ultrastructure, muscle mass, and grip strength, and urine protein levels, as well as the accumulation of PS-MPs in the kidney tissue.


Uptake of PS-MPs at different concentrations by HK-2 cells resulted in higher levels of mitochondrial ROS and the mitochondrial protein Bad. Cells exposed to PS-MPs had higher ER stress and markers of inflammation. MitoTEMPO, which is a mitochondrial ROS antioxidant, mitigated the higher levels of mitochondrial ROS, Bad, ER stress, and specific autophagy-related proteins seen with PS-MP exposure. Furthermore, cells exposed to PS-MPs had higher protein levels of LC3 and Beclin 1. PS-MPs also had changes in phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and protein kinase B (AKT)/mitogen-activated protein kinase (mTOR) signaling pathways. In an in vivo study, PS-MPs accumulated and the treated mice had more histopathological lesions in the kidneys and higher levels of ER stress, inflammatory markers, and autophagy-related proteins in the kidneys after PS-MPs treatment by oral gavage.


The results suggest that PS-MPs caused mitochondrial dysfunction, ER stress, inflammation, and autophagy in kidney cells and accumulated in HK-2 cells and in the kidneys of mice. These results suggest that long-term PS-MPs exposure may be a risk factor for kidney health.

Supplementary Material

File (ehp7612.smcontents.508.pdf)
File (ehp7612.s001.acco.pdf)


Abbasi S, Soltani N, Keshavarzi B, Moore F, Turner A, Hassanaghaei M. 2018. Microplastics in different tissues of fish and prawn from the Musa Estuary, Persian Gulf. Chemosphere 205:80–87.,
Barboza LGA, Vieira LR, Branco V, Figueiredo N, Carvalho F, Carvalho C, et al. 2018. Microplastics cause neurotoxicity, oxidative damage and energy-related changes and interact with the bioaccumulation of mercury in the European seabass, Dicentrarchus labrax (Linnaeus, 1758). Aquat Toxicol 195:49–57.,
Baxmann AC, Ahmed MS, Marques NC, Menon VB, Pereira AB, Kirsztajn GM, et al. 2008. Influence of muscle mass and physical activity on serum and urinary creatinine and serum cystatin C. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 3:348–354.,
Belibi F, Zafar I, Ravichandran K, Segvic AB, Jani A, Ljubanovic DG, et al. 2011. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and autophagy in polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 300(5):F1235–1F1243.,
Birben E, Sahiner UM, Sackesen C, Erzurum S, Kalayci O. 2012. Oxidative stress and antioxidant defense. World Allergy Organ J 5(1):9–19.,
Bolisetty S, Traylor AM, Kim J, Joseph R, Ricart K, Landar A, et al. 2010. Heme oxygenase-1 inhibits renal tubular macroautophagy in acute kidney injury. J Am Soc Nephrol 21(10):1702–1712.,
Bowe B, Xie Y, Li T, Yan Y, Xian H, Al-Aly Z. 2018. Particulate matter air pollution and the risk of incident CKD and progression to ESRD. J Am Soc Nephrol 29(1):218–230.,
Brandts I, Teles M, Gonçalves AP, Barreto A, Franco-Martinez L, Tvarijonaviciute A, et al. 2018. Effects of nanoplastics on Mytilus galloprovincialis after individual and combined exposure with carbamazepine. Sci Total Environ 643:775–784.,
Cai Y, Yang L, Hu G, Chen X, Niu F, Yuan L, et al. 2016. Regulation of morphine-induced synaptic alterations: role of oxidative stress, ER stress, and autophagy. J Cell Biol 215(2):245–258.,
Carbery M, O’Connor W, Palanisami T. 2018. Trophic transfer of microplastics and mixed contaminants in the marine food web and implications for human health. Environ Int 115:400–409.,
Carney Almroth BM, Åström L, Roslund S, Petersson H, Johansson M, Persson NK. 2018. Quantifying shedding of synthetic fibers from textiles; a source of microplastics released into the environment. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 25(2):1191–1199.,
Chacar F, Kogika M, Sanches TR, Caragelasco D, Martorelli C, Rodrigues C, et al. 2017. Urinary Tamm-Horsfall protein, albumin, vitamin D-binding protein, and retinol-binding protein as early biomarkers of chronic kidney disease in dogs. Physiol Rep 5(11):e13262.,
Chen X, Karnovsky A, Sans MD, Andrews PC, Williams JA. 2010. Molecular characterization of the endoplasmic reticulum: insights from proteomic studies. Proteomics 10(22):4040–4052.,
Chien CT, Shyue SK, Lai MK. 2007. Bcl-xL augmentation potentially reduces ischemia/reperfusion induced proximal and distal tubular apoptosis and autophagy. Transplantation 84(9):1183–1190.,
Cho Y, Shim WJ, Jang M, Han GM, Hong SH. 2019. Abundance and characteristics of microplastics in market bivalves from South Korea. Environ Pollut 245:1107–1116.,
Claudia G. 2018. Single-Use Plastics: A Roadmap for Sustainability. Nairobi, Kenya: United Nations Environment Programme. [accessed 20 April 2021].
Cox KD, Covernton GA, Davies HL, Dower JF, Juanes F, Dudas SE. 2019. Human consumption of microplastics. Environ Sci Technol 53(12):7068–7074.,
Cybulsky AV. 2017. Endoplasmic reticulum stress, the unfolded protein response and autophagy in kidney diseases. Nat Rev Nephrol 13(11):681–696.,
de Wit W, Bigaud N. 2019. No plastic in nature: assessing plastic ingestion from nature to people. [accessed 20 April 2021].
Deng X, Feng N, Zheng M, Ye X, Lin H, Yu X, et al. 2017a. PM2.5 exposure-induced autophagy is mediated by lncRNA loc146880 which also promotes the migration and invasion of lung cancer cells. Biochim Biophys Acta Gen Subj 1861(2):112–125.,
Deng Y, Zhang Y, Lemos B, Ren H. 2017b. Tissue accumulation of microplastics in mice and biomarker responses suggest widespread health risks of exposure. Sci Rep 7:46687.,
Deng Y, Zhang Y, Qiao R, Bonilla MM, Yang X, Ren H, et al. 2018. Evidence that microplastics aggravate the toxicity of organophosphorus flame retardants in mice (Mus musculus). J Hazard Mater 357:348–354.,
Díaz-Torres ER, Ortega-Ortiz CD, Silva-Iñiguez L, Nene-Preciado A, Orozco ET. 2017. Floating marine debris in waters of the Mexican Central Pacific. Mar Pollut Bull 115(1–2):225–232.,
Duis K, Coors A. 2016. Microplastics in the aquatic and terrestrial environment: sources (with a specific focus on personal care products), fate and effects. Environ Sci Eur 28(1):2.,
Ferlizza E, Dondi F, Andreani G, Bucci D, Archer J, Isani G. 2017. Validation of an electrophoretic method to detect albuminuria in cats. J Feline Med Surg 19(8):860–868.,
Flaquer M, Lloberas N, Franquesa M, Torras J, Vidal A, Rosa JL, et al. 2010. The combination of sirolimus and rosiglitazone produces a renoprotective effect on diabetic kidney disease in rats. Life Sci 87(5–6):147–153.,
Fu Q, Lyu D, Zhang L, Qin Z, Tang Q, Yin H, et al. 2017. Airborne particulate matter (PM2.5) triggers autophagy in human corneal epithelial cell line. Environ Pollut 227:314–322.,
Gao QQ, McNally EM. 2015. The dystrophin complex: structure, function, and implications for therapy. Compr Physiol 5(3):1223–1239.,
Geyer R, Jambeck JR, Law KL. 2017. Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made. Sci Adv 3(7):e1700782.,
Ghosh M, Stewart A, Tucker DE, Bonventre JV, Murphy RC, Leslie CC. 2004. Role of cytosolic phospholipase A2 in prostaglandin E2 production by lung fibroblasts. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 30(1):91–100.,
Gifford FJ, Gifford RM, Eddleston M, Dhaun N. 2017. Endemic nephropathy around the world. Kidney Int Rep 2(2):282–292.,
Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 Collaborators. 2015. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease study 2013. Lancet 386(9995):743–800.,
Hahladakis JN, Velis CA, Weber R, Iacovidou E, Purnell P. 2018. An overview of chemical additives present in plastics: migration, release, fate and environmental impact during their use, disposal and recycling. J Hazard Mater 344:179–199.,
Han P, Shao M, Guo L, Wang W, Song G, Yu X, et al. 2018. Niclosamide ethanolamine improves diabetes and diabetic kidney disease in mice. Am J Transl Res 10(4):1071–1084.
Han P, Yuan C, Wang Y, Wang M, Weng W, Zhan H, et al. 2019. Niclosamide ethanolamine protects kidney in adriamycin nephropathy by regulating mitochondrial redox balance. Am J Transl Res 11(2):855–864.
Hartleben B, Gödel M, Meyer-Schwesinger C, Liu S, Ulrich T, Köbler S, et al. 2010. Autophagy influences glomerular disease susceptibility and maintains podocyte homeostasis in aging mice. J Clin Invest 120(4):1084–1096.,
Haque MS, Uddin S, Sayem SM, Mohib KM. 2021. Coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) induced waste scenario: a short overview. J Environ Chem Eng 9:104660.,
Hernandez LM, Xu EG, Larsson HCE, Tahara R, Maisuria VB, Tufenkji N. 2019. Plastic teabags release billions of microparticles and nanoparticles into tea. Environ Sci Technol 53(21):12300–12310.,
Herzke D, Anker-Nilssen T, Nøst TH, Götsch A, Christensen-Dalsgaard S, Langset M, et al. 2016. Negligible impact of ingested microplastics on tissue concentrations of persistent organic pollutants in northern fulmars off coastal Norway. Environ Sci Technol 50(4):1924–1933.,
Hwang I, Lee J, Huh JY, Park J, Lee HB, Ho YS, et al. 2012. Catalase deficiency accelerates diabetic renal injury through peroxisomal dysfunction. Diabetes 61(3):728–738.,
Inhabitat. 2018. Cheap drainage nets keep water pollution at bay in Australia. [accessed 20 April 2021].
Iñiguez ME, Conesa JA, Fullana A. 2017. Microplastics in Spanish table salt. Sci Rep 7(1):8620.,
Jambeck JR, Geyer R, Wilcox C, Siegler TR, Perryman M, Andrady A, et al. 2015. Marine pollution. Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean. Science 347(6223):768–771.,
Jha V, Garcia-Garcia G, Iseki K, Li Z, Naicker S, Plattner B, et al. 2013. Chronic kidney disease: global dimension and perspectives. Lancet 382(9888):260–272.,
Jiang XS, Chen XM, Hua W, He JL, Liu T, Li XJ, et al. 2020. PINK1/Parkin mediated mitophagy ameliorates palmitic acid-induced apoptosis through reducing mitochondrial ROS production in podocytes. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 525(4):954–961.,
Jin Y, Lu L, Tu W, Luo T, Fu Z. 2019. Impacts of polystyrene microplastic on the gut barrier, microbiota and metabolism of mice. Sci Total Environ 649:308–317.,
Joly FX, Coulis M. 2018. Comparison of cellulose vs. plastic cigarette filter decomposition under distinct disposal environments. Waste Manag 72:349–353.,
Kane IA, Clare MA, Miramontes E, Wogelius R, Rothwell JJ, Garreau P, et al. 2020. Seafloor microplastic hotspots controlled by deep-sea circulation. Science 368(6495):1140–1145.,
Karlsson TM, Vethaak AD, Almroth BC, Ariese F, van Velzen M, Hassellöv M, et al. 2017. Screening for microplastics in sediment, water, marine invertebrates and fish: method development and microplastic accumulation. Mar Pollut Bull 122(1–2):403–408.,
Kimura T, Takabatake Y, Takahashi A, Kaimori JY, Matsui I, Namba T, et al. 2011. Autophagy protects the proximal tubule from degeneration and acute ischemic injury. J Am Soc Nephrol 22(5):902–913.,
Kosuth M, Mason SA, Wattenberg EV. 2018. Anthropogenic contamination of tap water, beer, and sea salt. PLoS One 13(4):e0194970.,
Krishnan S. 2019. Single-use plastic ban: what is single-use plastic, which plastic items will be banned on October 2? [accessed 20 April 2021].
Kuda O, Jenkins CM, Skinner JR, Moon SH, Su X, Gross RW, et al. 2011. CD36 protein is involved in store-operated calcium flux, phospholipase A2 activation, and production of prostaglandin E2. J Biol Chem 286(20):17785–17795.,
Kuma A, Hatano M, Matsui M, Yamamoto A, Nakaya H, Yoshimori T, et al. 2004. The role of autophagy during the early neonatal starvation period. Nature 432(7020):1032–1036.,
Kutralam-Muniasamy G, Pérez-Guevara F, Elizalde-Martínez I, Shruti VC. 2020. Branded milks—are they immune from microplastics contamination? Sci Total Environ 714:136823.,
Lacour B. 1992. Creatinine and renal function. [In French.] Nephrologie 13(2):73–81.
Lamb JB, Willis BL, Fiorenza EA, Couch CS, Howard R, Rader DN, et al. 2018. Plastic waste associated with disease on coral reefs. Science 359(6374):460–462.,
Lebreton L, Slat B, Ferrari F, Sainte-Rose B, Aitken J, Marthouse R, et al. 2018. Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic. Sci Rep 8(1):4666.,
Leslie HA, Brandsma SH, van Velzen MJM, Vethaak AD. 2017. Microplastics en route: field measurements in the Dutch river delta and Amsterdam canals, wastewater treatment plants, North Sea sediments and biota. Environ Int 101:133–142.,
Li B, Ding Y, Cheng X, Sheng D, Xu Z, Rong Q, et al. 2020. Polyethylene microplastics affect the distribution of gut microbiota and inflammation development in mice. Chemosphere 244:125492.,
Li J, Green C, Reynolds A, Shi H, Rotchell JM. 2018. Microplastics in mussels sampled from coastal waters and supermarkets in the United Kingdom. Environ Pollut 241:35–44.,
Li R, Zhou R, Zhang J. 2018. Function of PM2.5 in the pathogenesis of lung cancer and chronic airway inflammatory diseases. Oncol Lett 15(5):7506–7514.,
Liebezeit G, Liebezeit E. 2013. Non-pollen particulates in honey and sugar. Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess 30(12):2136–2140.,
Liebezeit G, Liebezeit E. 2014. Synthetic particles as contaminants in German beers. Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess 31(9):1574–1578.,
Liu M, Li Q, Liang L, Li J, Wang K, Li J, et al. 2017. Real-time visualization of clustering and intracellular transport of gold nanoparticles by correlative imaging. Nat Commun 8:15646.,
Liu S, Hartleben B, Kretz O, Wiech T, Igarashi P, Mizushima N, et al. 2012. Autophagy plays a critical role in kidney tubule maintenance, aging and ischemia-reperfusion injury. Autophagy 8(5):826–837.,
Liu Z, Yu P, Cai M, Wu D, Zhang M, Huang Y, et al. 2019. Polystyrene nanoplastic exposure induces immobilization, reproduction, and stress defense in the freshwater cladoceran Daphnia pulex. Chemosphere 215:74–81.,
Lu L, Wan Z, Luo T, Fu Z, Jin Y. 2018. Polystyrene microplastics induce gut microbiota dysbiosis and hepatic lipid metabolism disorder in mice. Sci Total Environ 631–632:449–458.,
Lu Y, Zhang Y, Deng Y, Jiang W, Zhao Y, Geng J, et al. 2016. Uptake and accumulation of polystyrene microplastics in zebrafish (Danio rerio) and toxic effects in liver. Environ Sci Technol 50(7):4054–4060.,
Luo T, Wang C, Pan Z, Jin C, Fu Z, Jin Y. 2019a. Maternal polystyrene microplastic exposure during gestation and lactation altered metabolic homeostasis in the dams and their F1 and F2 offspring. Environ Sci Technol 53(18):10978–10992.,
Luo T, Zhang Y, Wang C, Wang X, Zhou J, Shen M, et al. 2019b. Maternal exposure to different sizes of polystyrene microplastics during gestation causes metabolic disorders in their offspring. Environ Pollut 255(pt 1):113122.,
Maeda H, Sogawa K, Sakaguchi K, Abe S, Sagizaka W, Mochizuki S, et al. 2015. Urinary albumin and transferrin as early diagnostic markers of chronic kidney disease. J Vet Med Sci 77(8):937–943.,
Mizushima N. 2018. A brief history of autophagy from cell biology to physiology and disease. Nat Cell Biol 20(5):521–527.,
Mohanraj VJ, Chen Y. 2006. Nanoparticles—a review. Trop J Pharm Res 5(1):561–573., [accessed 20 April 2021].
Monti DM, Guarnieri D, Napolitano G, Piccoli R, Netti P, Fusco S, et al. 2015. Biocompatibility, uptake and endocytosis pathways of polystyrene nanoparticles in primary human renal epithelial cells. J Biotechnol 193:3–10.,
Moretti L, Cha YI, Niermann KJ, Lu B. 2007. Switch between apoptosis and autophagy: radiation-induced endoplasmic reticulum stress? Cell Cycle 6(7):793–798.,
Nita M, Grzybowski A. 2016. The role of the reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress in the pathomechanism of the age-related ocular diseases and other pathologies of the anterior and posterior eye segments in adults. Oxid Med Cell Longev 2016:3164734.,
Papadopulos F, Spinelli M, Valente S, Foroni L, Orrico C, Alviano F, et al. 2017. Common tasks in microscopic and ultrastructural image analysis using imagej. Ultrastruct Pathol 31:401–407.,
Pitt JA, Trevisan R, Massarsky A, Kozal JS, Levin ED, Di Giulio RT. 2018. Maternal transfer of nanoplastics to offspring in zebrafish (Danio rerio): a case study with nanopolystyrene. Sci Total Environ 643:324–334.,
Pivokonsky M, Cermakova L, Novotna K, Peer P, Cajthaml T, Janda V. 2018. Occurrence of microplastics in raw and treated drinking water. Sci Total Environ 643:1644–1651.,
Plastic Soup Foundation. 2020. Global Impact. [accessed 20 April 2021].
Qu M, Xu K, Li Y, Wong G, Wang D. 2018. Using acs-22 mutant Caenorhabditis elegans to detect the toxicity of nanopolystyrene particles. Sci Total Environ 643:119–126.,
Rafiee M, Dargahi L, Eslami A, Beirami E, Jahangiri-Rad M, Sabour S, et al. 2018. Neurobehavioral assessment of rats exposed to pristine polystyrene nanoplastics upon oral exposure. Chemosphere 193:745–753.,
Remy F, Collard F, Gilbert B, Compère P, Eppe G, Lepoint G. 2015. When microplastic is not plastic: the ingestion of artificial cellulose fibers by macrofauna living in seagrass macrophytodetritus. Environ Sci Technol 49(18):11158–11166.,
Rhodes CJ. 2018. Plastic pollution and potential solutions. Sci Prog 101(3):207–260.,
Riediger F, Quack I, Qadri F, Hartleben B, Park JK, Potthoff SA, et al. 2011. Prorenin receptor is essential for podocyte autophagy and survival. J Am Soc Nephrol 22(12):2193–2202.,
Rocha M, Apostolova N, Díaz-Rua R, Muntane J, Victor VM. 2020. Mitochondria and T2D: role of autophagy, ER stress, and inflammasome. Trends Endocrinol Metab 31(10):725–741.,
Rochman CM, Browne MA, Halpern BS, Hentschel BT, Hoh E, Karapanagioti HK, et al. 2013. Policy: classify plastic waste as hazardous. Nature 494(7436):169–171.,
Saito A, Imaizumi K. 2018. Unfolded protein response-dependent communication and contact among endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, and plasma membrane. Int J Mol Sci 19(10):3215.,
Saremi S, Atyabi F, Akhlaghi SP, Ostad SN, Dinarvand R. 2011. Thiolated chitosan nanoparticles for enhancing oral absorption of docetaxel: preparation, in vitro and ex vivo evaluation. Int J Nanomedicine 6:119–128.,
Saunders MR, Kim SD, Patel N, Meltzer DO, Chin MH. 2015. Hospitalized patients frequently unaware of their chronic kidney disease. J Hosp Med 10(9):619–622.,
Savitskaya MA, Onishchenko GE. 2015. Mechanisms of apoptosis. Biochemistry (Mosc) 80(11):1393–1405.,
Schmitz KJ, Ademi C, Bertram S, Schmid KW, Baba HA. 2016. Prognostic relevance of autophagy-related markers LC3, p62/sequestosome 1, Beclin-1 and ULK1 in colorectal cancer patients with respect to KRAS mutational status. World J Surg Oncol 14(1):189.,
Schwabl P, Köppel S, Königshofer P, Bucsics T, Trauner M, Reiberger T, et al. 2019. Detection of various microplastics in human stool: a prospective case series. Ann Intern Med 171(7):453–457.,
Schymanski D, Goldbeck C, Humpf HU, Fürst P. 2018. Analysis of microplastics in water by micro-Raman spectroscopy: release of plastic particles from different packaging into mineral water. Water Res 129:154–162.,
Serra AL, Poster D, Kistler AD, Krauer F, Raina S, Young J, et al. 2010. Sirolimus and kidney growth in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. N Engl J Med 363(9):820–829.,
Smith M, Love DC, Rochman CM, Neff RA. 2018. Microplastics in seafood and the implications for human health. Curr Environ Health Rep 5(3):375–386.,
Song YK, Hong SH, Jang M, Han GM, Jung SW, Shim WJ. 2017. Combined effects of UV exposure duration and mechanical abrasion on microplastic fragmentation by polymer type. Environ Sci Technol 51(8):4368–4376.,
Stock V, Böhmert L, Lisicki E, Block R, Cara-Carmona J, Pack LK, et al. 2019. Uptake and effects of orally ingested polystyrene microplastic particles in vitro and in vivo. Arch Toxicol 93(7):1817–1833.,
Takahashi A, Kimura T, Takabatake Y, Namba T, Kaimori J, Kitamura H, et al. 2012. Autophagy guards against cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury. Am J Pathol 180(2):517–525.,
Takeshita H, Yamamoto K, Nozato S, Inagaki T, Tsuchimochi H, Shirai M, et al. 2017. Modified forelimb grip strength test detects aging-associated physiological decline in skeletal muscle function in male mice. Sci Rep 7:42323.,
Tang J, Ni X, Zhou Z, Wang L, Lin S. 2018. Acute microplastic exposure raises stress response and suppresses detoxification and immune capacities in the scleractinian coral Pocillopora damicornis. Environ Pollut 243(pt A):66–74.,
Thongprayoon C, Cheungpasitporn W, Kashani K. 2016. Serum creatinine level, a surrogate of muscle mass, predicts mortality in critically ill patients. J Thorac Dis 8(5):E305–E311.,
Van Cauwenberghe L, Janssen CR. 2014. Microplastics in bivalves cultured for human consumption. Environ Pollut 193:65–70.,
Walpole SC, Prieto-Merino D, Edwards P, Cleland J, Stevens G, Roberts I. 2012. The weight of nations: an estimation of adult human biomass. BMC Public Health 12:439.,
Wang T, Fu X, Chen Q, Patra JK, Wang D, Wang Z, et al. 2019. Arachidonic acid metabolism and kidney inflammation. Int J Mol Sci 20(15):3683.,
Wang YL, Lee YH, Chiu IJ, Lin YF, Chiu HW. 2020. Potent impact of plastic nanomaterials and micromaterials on the food chain and human health. Int J Mol Sci 21(5):1727.,
Webster AC, Nagler EV, Morton RL, Masson P. 2017. Chronic kidney disease. Lancet 389(10075):1238–1252.,
Welle F, Franz R. 2018. Microplastic in bottled natural mineral water—literature review and considerations on exposure and risk assessment. Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess 35(12):2482–2492.,
Williams D. 2019. A floating device created to clean up plastic from the ocean is finally doing its job, organizers say. [accessed 20 April 2021].
Wręczycki J, Bieliński DM, Kozanecki M, Maczugowska P, Mlostoń G. 2020. Anionic copolymerization of styrene sulfide with elemental sulfur (S8). Materials (Basel) 13(11):2597.,
Wu B, Wu X, Liu S, Wang Z, Chen L. 2019. Size-dependent effects of polystyrene microplastics on cytotoxicity and efflux pump inhibition in human Caco-2 cells. Chemosphere 221:333–341.,
Xanthos D, Walker TR. 2017. International policies to reduce plastic marine pollution from single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads): a review. Mar Pollut Bull 118(1–2):17–26.,
Xing YF, Xu YH, Shi MH, Lian YX. 2016. The impact of PM2.5 on the human respiratory system. J Thorac Dis 8(1):E69–E74.,
Xu J, Kitada M, Koya D. 2020. The impact of mitochondrial quality control by Sirtuins on the treatment of type 2 diabetes and diabetic kidney disease. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis 1866(6):165756.,
Yang YF, Chen CY, Lu TH, Liao CM. 2019. Toxicity-based toxicokinetic/toxicodynamic assessment for bioaccumulation of polystyrene microplastics in mice. J Hazard Mater 366:703–713.,
Yousif E, Haddad R. 2013. Photodegradation and photostabilization of polymers, especially polystyrene: review. Springerplus 2:398.,
Zhang W, Liu HT. 2002. MAPK signal pathways in the regulation of cell proliferation in mammalian cells. Cell Res 12(1):9–18.,
Zhou W, Yuan X, Zhang L, Su B, Tian D, Li Y. 2017. Overexpression of HO-1 assisted PM2.5-induced apoptosis failure and autophagy-related cell necrosis. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 145:605–614.,

Information & Authors


Published In

Environmental Health Perspectives
Volume 129Issue 5May 2021
PubMed: 33956507


Received: 4 June 2020
Revision received: 19 March 2021
Accepted: 12 April 2021
Published online: 6 May 2021



Yung-Li Wang*
Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
Yu-Hsuan Lee
Department of Cosmeceutics, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
Yung-Ho Hsu
Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Hsin Kuo Min Hospital, Taipei Medical University, Taoyuan City, Taiwan
Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
Research Center of Urology and Kidney, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
I-Jen Chiu
Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
Research Center of Urology and Kidney, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Shuang Ho Hospital, Taipei Medical University, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Cathy Chia-Yu Huang
Department of Life Sciences, National Central University, Taoyuan City, Taiwan
Chih-Chia Huang
Department of Photonics, Center of Applied Nanomedicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan
Zi-Chun Chia
Department of Photonics, Center of Applied Nanomedicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan
Chung-Pei Lee
School of Nursing, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences, Taipei, Taiwan
Yuh-Feng Lin*
Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
Research Center of Urology and Kidney, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Shuang Ho Hospital, Taipei Medical University, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan
Hui-Wen Chiu
Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
Research Center of Urology and Kidney, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Shuang Ho Hospital, Taipei Medical University, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Department of Medical Research, Shuang Ho Hospital, Taipei Medical University, New Taipei City, Taiwan


Address correspondence to Hui-Wen Chiu, Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, 250 Wuxing St., Taipei, Taiwan 110. Telephone: 886-2-22490088, ext. 8884. Email: [email protected]

Metrics & Citations


About Article Metrics


Download citation

If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. Simply select your manager software from the list below and click DOWNLOAD.

Cited by

  • The Minderoo-Monaco Commission on Plastics and Human Health, Annals of Global Health, 10.5334/aogh.4056, 89, 1, (2023).
  • CTLA4-Ig protects tacrolimus-induced oxidative stress via inhibiting the AKT/FOXO3 signaling pathway in rats, The Korean Journal of Internal Medicine, 10.3904/kjim.2022.293, 38, 3, (393-405), (2023).
  • Distribution of Micro-Nano PS, DEHP, and/or MEHP in Mice and Nerve Cell Models In Vitro after Exposure to Micro-Nano PS and DEHP, Toxics, 10.3390/toxics11050441, 11, 5, (441), (2023).
  • Microplastic Contamination in Different Marine Species of Bintaro Fish Market, Indonesia, Sustainability, 10.3390/su15129836, 15, 12, (9836), (2023).
  • Effects of Microplastic (MP) Exposure at Environmentally Relevant Doses on the Structure, Function, and Transcriptome of the Kidney in Mice, Molecules, 10.3390/molecules28207104, 28, 20, (7104), (2023).
  • Microplastics in Freshwaters: Implications for Aquatic Autotrophic Organisms and Fauna Health, Microplastics, 10.3390/microplastics2010003, 2, 1, (39-59), (2023).
  • Microplastics Derived from Food Packaging Waste—Their Origin and Health Risks, Materials, 10.3390/ma16020674, 16, 2, (674), (2023).
  • Microplastics and Kidneys: An Update on the Evidence for Deposition of Plastic Microparticles in Human Organs, Tissues and Fluids and Renal Toxicity Concern, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 10.3390/ijms241814391, 24, 18, (14391), (2023).
  • Polystyrene Microplastics Induce Oxidative Stress in Mouse Hepatocytes in Relation to Their Size, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 10.3390/ijms24087382, 24, 8, (7382), (2023).
  • Hazard Assessment of Polystyrene Nanoplastics in Primary Human Nasal Epithelial Cells, Focusing on the Autophagic Effects, Biomolecules, 10.3390/biom13020220, 13, 2, (220), (2023).
  • See more

View Options

View options


View PDF

Full Text

View Full Text

Get Access

Restore your content access

Enter your email address to restore your content access:

Note: This functionality works only for purchases done as a guest. If you already have an account, log in to access the content to which you are entitled.







Copy the content Link

Share on social media