As one of the most commonly used nanoparticles, titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2-NPs) are widely used as coating reagents in cosmetics, medicine and other industries. The increasing risk of exposure to TiO2-NPs raises concerns about their safety. In this study, we investigated the mechanism by which TiO2-NPs cross the blood-testis barrier (BTB). TM-4 cells were selected as an in vitro Sertoli cell model of BTB. Cell viability, cell morphological changes, apoptosis, oxidative damage, and the expression levels of actin regulatory and tight junction (TJ) proteins were assessed in TM-4 cells treated with 3-nm and 24-nm TiO2-NPs. Cells treated with 3-nm TiO2-NPs exhibited increased cytotoxicity and decreased Annexin II expression, whereas cells treated with 24-nm TiO2-NPs exhibited increased Arp 3 and c-Src expression. Both TiO2-NPs induced significant oxidative stress, decreased the expression of TJ proteins (occludin, ZO-1 and claudin 5), damaged the TJ structure, and exhibited enlarged gaps between TM-4 cells. Our results indicated that both TiO2-NPs crossed the BTB by disrupting actin-based adhesive junctions of TM-4 cells; however, apoptosis was not observed. Our results provide new insights into how TiO2-NPs cross the BTB.