ABSTRACT: We determined the ability of a model nanoparticle (NP) (titanium dioxide, TiO2) to modulate sensitization induced by a known potent dermal sensitizer (dinitrochlorobenzene) using a variant of the local lymph node assay called lymph node proliferation assay. BALB/c mice received sub-cutaneous injections of vehicle (2.5 mM sodium citrate), TiO2 NPs (0.004, 0.04 or 0.4 mg/ml) or pigment particles (0.04 mg/ml) both stabilized in sodium citrate buffer at the base of each ear (2x50mul), before receiving dermal applications (on both ears) of 2,4-Dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB) (2x25mul of 0.1 %) or its vehicle (acetone olive oil - AOO (4:1)) on days 0, 1 and 2. On day 5, the stimulation index (SI) was calculated as a ratio of 3HTdR incorporation in lymphocytes from DNBC-treated mice and AOO-treated controls. In a second experiment the EC3-value for DNCB (0 to 0.1 %) was assessed in the absence or presence of 0.04 mg/ml TiO2. In a third experiment, the lymphocyte subpopulations and the cytokine secretion profile were analyzed after TiO2 (0.04 mg/ml) and DNCB (0.1 %) treatment. Injection of NPs in AOO-treated control mice did not have any effect on lymph node (LN) proliferation. DNCB sensitization resulted in LN proliferation, which was further increased by injection of TiO2 NPs before DNCB sensitization. The EC3 of DNCB, with prior injection of vehicle control was 0.041 %, while injection with TiO2 decreased the EC3 of DNCB to 0.015 %. TiO2 NPs pre-treatment did not alter the lymphocyte subpopulations, but significantly increased the level of IL-4 and decreased IL-10 production in DNCB treated animals. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that administration of nano-TiO2 increases the dermal sensitization potency of DNCB, by augmenting a Th2 response, showing the immunomodulatory abilities of NPs.