Titanium dioxide nanoparticles (nanoTiO(2)) are used in various applications including in paints. NanoTiO(2) inhalation may induce pulmonary toxicity and systemic effects. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. In this study, the effects of inhaled surface-coated nanoTiO(2) on pulmonary global messenger RNA (mRNA) and microRNA (miRNA) expression in mouse were characterized to provide insight into the molecular response. Female C57BL/6BomTac mice were exposed for 1 hr daily to 42.4 +/- 2.9 (SEM) mg surface-coated nanoTiO(2)/m(3) for 11 consecutive days by inhalation and were sacrificed 5 days following the last exposure. Physicochemical properties of the particles were determined. Pulmonary response to nanoTiO(2) was characterized using DNA microarrays and pathway-specific PCR arrays and related to data on pulmonary inflammation from bronchial lavages. NanoTiO(2) exposure resulted in increased levels of mRNA for acute phase markers serum amyloid A-1 (Saa1) and serum amyloid A-3 (Saa3), several C-X-C and C-C motif chemokines, and cytokine tumor necrosis factor genes. Protein analysis of Saa1 and 3 showed selective upregulation of Saa3 in lung tissues. Sixteen miRNAs were induced by more than 1.2-fold (adjusted P-value < 0.05) following exposure. Real time polymerase chain reaction confirmed the upregulation of miR-1, miR-449a and revealed dramatic induction of miR-135b (60-fold). Thus, inhalation of surface-coated nanoTiO(2) results in changes in the expression of genes associated with acute phase, inflammation and immune response 5 days post exposure with concomitant changes in several miRNAs. The role of these miRNAs in pulmonary response to inhaled particles is unknown and warrants further research.