Environmental Mutagenesis


Maria João Silva



Department of Human Genetics


Department of Human Genetics
Avenida Padre Cruz, 1649-016 Lisboa, Portugal

Email: m.joao.silva_at_insa.min.saude.pt
Phone: +351 217 526 425
Fax: +351 217 526 410

Our group aims at exploring the interactions between the exposome and the genome/proteome as determinants of human conditions (e.g. chronic diseases, cancer and infertility), in order to prevent the onset of environmental diseases. A second aim of our research is to provide the knowledge basis for decision making through risk assessment of environmental stressors.

Research areas

• Environmental genotoxicity

• Nanotoxicology

• Molecular epidemiology

• Molecular mechanisms of mutagenesis and toxicogenomics

Running as PI:

• “NANoREG – A common European Approach to the Regulatory Testing of Nanomaterials”, funded under the FP7, theme NMP.21012.1.3-3 NMP.2012.1.3-3 (2013-2016) – PI of the Portuguese participation

• “NANOGENOTOX – Safety evaluation of manufactured nanomaterials by characterisation of their potential genotoxic hazard” funded by the Executive Agency for Health and Consumers, 2009 21 01 (2010-2013) – PI of the Portuguese participation

Running as Collaborator (2004-2017)

•• “NanoPoliBiofilm – Polymeric therapeutic nanoparticles containing an antimicrobial agent: new opportunities for the development of anti-biofilm agents to treat postetic joint infections”, EXCL/CTM-NAN/0166/2012 (2013-2015).

• “Mycomix – Exploring the toxic effects of mixtures of mycotoxins in infant food and potential health impact”, PTDC/DTP-FTO/0417/2012 (2013-2015).

• “HERA – Environmental Risk Assessment of a Contaminated Estuarine Environment: a Case Study”, PTDC/SAU-ESA/100107/2008 (2010-2013).

• “Characterization of genotoxic effects associated to human long-term exposure to water-borne contaminants”, INSA/2010 (2010-2015).

Pinto M, Louro H, Costa P, Caeiro S, Silva MJ (2015) Exploring the potential interference of estuarine sediment contaminants with the DNA repair capacity of human hepatoma cells. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues. Doi: 10.1080/15287394.2015.1006712.

Louro H, Bettencourt A, Gonçalves LM, Almeida AJ, Silva MJ (2015) Role of nanogenotoxicology studies in safety evaluation of nanomaterials. In: Sabu Thomas, Yves Grohens, Neethu Ninan (eds.), Nanotechnology applications in tissue engineering. Elsevier Inc., Oxford, UK, pp.263-288.

Tarantini A, Huet S, Jarry G, Lanceleur R, Poul M, Tavares A, Vital N, Louro H, Silva MJ, Fessard V (2014) Genotoxicity of Synthetic amorphous silica nanoparticles in rats following short termexposure. Part 1: Oral route. Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis. Dec 15. doi: 10.1002/em.21935. [Epub ahead of print].

Costa PM, Pinto M, Louro H, Gonçalves C, Rodrigo A, Costa MH, Caeiro S, Silva MJ (2014) An integrative assessment to determine the genotoxic hazard of estuarine sediments: combining cell– and whole–organism responses. Front. Genet. 2014.5:437. doi:10.3389/fgene.2014.00437.

Louro H, Tavares A, Vital N, Costa PM, Alverca E, Zwart E, de Jong WH, Fessard V, Lavinha J, Silva MJ (2014) Integrated approach to the in vivo genotoxic effects of a titanium dioxide nanomaterials using LacZ plasmid based transgenic mice. Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis, 55: 500–509.

Dias E, Pinto M, Louro H, Santos T, Antunes S, Pereira P, Silva MJ (2014) Genotoxicity of MicrocystinLR in in vitro and in vivo experimental models. BioMed Res International, 949521(http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/949521).

Pinto M, Rebola M, Louro H, Antunes AMM, José SS, Rocha MR, Silva MJ, Cardoso AS. (2014) Chlorinated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons associated with drinking water disinfection: synthesis, occurrence under aqueous chlorination conditions and genotoxic effects. Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds, 34:356371.

Tavares A, Vital N, Costa PM, Alverca E, Zwart E, de Jong WH, Fessard V, Lavinha, Silva MJ. (2014) Integrated approach to the in vivo genotoxic effects of a titanium dioxide nanomaterial using LacZ plasmidbased transgenic mice. Environ Mol Mutag, 55: 500509.

Pinto M, Costa PM, Louro H, Costa MH, Lavinha J, Caeiro S, Silva MJ (2014) Determining oxidative and nonoxidative genotoxic effects driven by estuarine sediment contaminants on a human hepatoma cell line. Science of the Total Environment, 478:2535.

Pinto M, Costa PM, Louro H, Costa MH, Lavinha J, Caeiro S, Silva MJ (2014) Human hepatoma cells exposed to sequential estuarine sediment contaminant extracts permitted the differentiation between cytotoxic and promutagenic fractions. Environ Poll, 185: 141-148.

Louro H, Pinto M, Vital N, Tavares AM, Costa PM, Silva MJ (2014) The LacZ plasmid based transgenic mouse model: an integrative approach to study the genotoxicity of nanomaterials. In L. María Sierra and Isabel Gaivão (eds.), Genotoxicity and DNA Repair: A Practical Approach, Methods in Pharmacology and Toxicology, Springer-Humana Press, N. Y., USA, pp. 451-478.

Tavares A, Louro H, Antunes S, Quarré S, Simar S, Temmerman PD, Verleysen E, Mast J, Jensen KA, Norppa H, Nesslany F, Silva MJ (2013) Genotoxicity evaluation of nanosized titanium dioxide, synthetic amorphous silica and multi-walled carbon nanotubes in human lymphocytes, Toxicology in Vitro, 28: 60–69.

Louro H, Borges T, Silva MJ (2013) Nanomateriais manufaturados – Novos desafios para a saúde pública. Revista Portuguesa de Saúde Pública, 31: 145-157.

Tavares, A. M. , Alvito, P., Loureiro, S. , Louro., H., Silva, M. J. (2013) Multi-mycotoxin determination and in vitro combined cytotoxic effects of aflatoxin M1 and ochratoxin A. World Mycotoxin Journal, 6: 375-388.

Louro A, Peralta L, Soares S, Pereira A, Cunha G, Belchior A, Ferreira L, Monteiro Gil O, Louro H, Pinto P, Rodrigues AS, Silva MJ, Teles P (2013) Human exposure to indoor radon: a survey in the region of Guarda, Portugal. Radiat Prot Dosimetry.154: 237-44.

Pacheco SA, Torres VM, Louro H, Gomes F, Lopes C, Marçal N, Fragoso E, Martins C, Oliveira CL, Hagenfeldt M, Bugalho-Almeida A, Penque D, Simões T (2013) Effects of occupational exposure to tobacco smoke: seeking for a link between environmental exposure and disease. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A, 76:311–327.

Louro H, Silva MJ (2011) Cost/benefit of mutation induction under PARP1 deficiency: from genomic instability to therapy. In Kevin V. Urbano (ed.) “Advances in Genetics Research. Volume 4″, Nova Publishers, Inc., NY, U.S.A pp. 109-134.

Louro H, Antunes S, Vital N, Gomes F, Penque D, Simões T, Silva MJ (2011) Exposure to second-hand smoke in occupational settings: biomarkers of DNA damage and susceptibility. Mutagenesis, 26: 701-702 (abstract).

Henriqueta Louro, Maria João Silva (2010) In vivo mutagenic effects of alkylating agents eliciting different DNA-adducts. In: Emerson Álvarez and Roberto Cunha (ed.s) DNA Adducts: Formation, Detection and Mutagenesis. Nova Science Publishers, Inc, NY, U.S.A..

Louro H, Faustino I, Dias A, Boavida MG, Silva MJ (2010) Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 deficiency does not affect ethylnitrourea mutagenicity in liver and testis of lacZ transgenic mice. Environ Mol Mutag, 51:322-329.

Dias E, Matos P, Pereira P, Batoréu MC, Silva MJ, Jordan P (2010) Microcystin-LR activates the ERK1/2 kinases and stimulates the proliferation of the monkey kidney-derived cell line Vero-E6. Toxicol In Vitro, 24: 1689-95.

Rebola M, Silva MJ, Louro H, Antunes AM, Jose SS, Silva ZI, Cardoso AS (2010) Contribution to risk assessment of chlorinated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons associated with drinking water chlorination: formation, occurrence and genotoxic effects. Eur J Pub Health, 20, Suppl. 1:175 (abstract).

Dias E, Andrade M, Alverca E, Pereira P, Batoréu MCC, Jordan P, Silva MJ (2009) Comparative study of the cytotoxic effect of microcystin-LR and purified extracts from Microcystis aeruginosa on a kidney cell line. Toxicon, 453: 487-495.

Alverca E, Andrade M, Dias E, Sam Bento F, Batoréu MCC, Jordan P, Silva MJ, Pereira P (2009) Morphological and ultrastructural effects of microcystin-LR from Microcystis aeruginosa extract on a kidney cell line Toxicon 54: 283–294.

Louro H, Pinheiro I, Costa P, Sousa C, Dias A, Boavida MG, Silva MJ (2008) Mutagenic effects of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 deficiency in transgenic mice. Mutat Res – Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis, 640: 82 – 88.

Gil F, Louro H, Dias A, Monteiro-Gil O, Painço P, Teixeira T, Sousa C, Costa P, Boavida MG, Silva MJ. 2008. Influence of hOGG1 genotype on the frequencies of stable and unstable chromosome aberrations in radiation-exposed individuals. Europ. J Cancer, 6: 199 (abstract).

Dias E, Pereira P, Batoreu MCC, Jordan P, Silva MJ (2008) Cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of microcystins in mammalian cell lines. In: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Harmful Algae, Moestrup et al., (Eds.). International Society for the Study of Harmful Algae and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, Copenhagen, pp. 282-285.

Rebola M, Silva MJ, Louro H, Antunes A, José S, Rebelo MH, Cardoso AS (2008) Chlorinated polyciclic aromatic hydrocarbons associated with drinking water chlorination: preparation, quantification and genotoxicity characterization. In: Proceedings of ECOpole, 2, Society of Ecological Chemistry and Engineering, Opole, Poland pp. 373-379.


• PToNANO Platform
• Faculdade de Farmácia de Lisboa
• Instituto da Soldadura e Qualidade
• Instituto Português da Qualidade
• Direção Geral da Saúde Universidade de Aveiro
• Universidade Aberta
• Faculdade de Ciências Tecnologias, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
• CESAM – Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar
• MARE – Centro de Ciências do Mar e do Ambiente
• Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro
• Several research groups from INSA


• NANoREG consortium
• Research groups from several European institutes working in the field of toxicology and environmental health, including (but not limited to) RIVM, The Netherlands; ANSES, France; FIOH, Finland; NILU, Norway.