In vitro-in vivo correlations of pulmonary inflammogenicity and genotoxicity of MWCNT

Tidsskriftartikel - 2021


BACKGROUND: Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) have received attention due to extraordinary properties, resulting in concerns for occupational health and safety. Costs and ethical concerns of animal testing drive a need for in vitro models with predictive power in respiratory toxicity. The aim of this study was to assess pro-inflammatory response (Interleukin-8 expression, IL-8) and genotoxicity (DNA strand breaks) caused by MWCNT with different physicochemical properties in different pulmonary cell models and correlate these to previously published in vivo data. Seven MWCNT were selected; two long/thick (NRCWE-006/Mitsui-7 and NM-401), two short/thin (NM-400 and NM-403), a pristine (NRCWE-040) and two surface modified; hydroxylated (NRCWE-041) and carboxylated (NRCWE-042). Carbon black Printex90 (CB) was included as benchmark material. Human alveolar epithelial cells (A549) and monocyte-derived macrophages (THP-1a) were exposed to nanomaterials (NM) in submerged conditions, and two materials (NM-400 and NM-401) in co-cultures of A549/THP-1a and lung fibroblasts (WI-38) in an air-liquid interface (ALI) system. Effective doses were quantified by thermo-gravimetric-mass spectrometry analysis (TGA-MS). To compare genotoxicity in vitro and in vivo, we developed a scoring system based on a categorization of effects into standard deviation (SD) units (< 1, 1, 2, 3 or 4 standard deviation increases) for the increasing genotoxicity.

RESULTS: Effective doses were shown to be 25 to 53%, and 21 to 57% of the doses administered to A549 and THP-1a, respectively. In submerged conditions (A549 and THP-1a cells), all NM induced dose-dependent IL-8 expression. NM-401 and NRCWE-006 caused the strongest pro-inflammatory response. In the ALI-exposed co-culture, only NM-401 caused increased IL-8 expression, and no DNA strand breaks were observed. Strong correlations were found between in vitro and in vivo inflammation when doses were normalized by surface area (also proxy for diameter and length). Significantly increased DNA damage was found for all MWCNT in THP-1a cells, and for short MWCNT in A549 cells. A concordance in genotoxicity of 83% was obtained between THP-1a cells and broncho-alveolar lavaged (BAL) cells.

CONCLUSION: This study shows correlations of pro-inflammatory potential in A549 and THP-1a cells with neutrophil influx in mice, and concordance in genotoxic response between THP-1a cells and BAL cells, for seven MWCNT.


Ianni ED, Erdem JS, Møller P, Sahlgren NM, Poulsen SS, Knudsen KB, Zienolddiny S, Saber AT, Wallin H, Vogel U, Jacobsen NR. In vitro-in vivo correlations of pulmonary inflammogenicity and genotoxicity of MWCNT. Particle and Fibre Toxicology 2021;18(1):25.
doi: 10.1186/s12989-021-00413-2

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