ABSTRACT: Fine- and coarse-sized titanium dioxide (TiO₂) particles are considered to be relatively inert when inhaled. The goal of this study was to assess potential lung toxicity associated with well-characterized, non-dispersed rutile TiO₂ nanorods (10 × 40 nm). In vitro bioreactivity of TiO₂ nanorods was determined by electron spin resonance (ESR) to measure free radical production. To assess pulmonary effects in vivo, Sprague-Dawley rats were intratracheally instilled with saline, silica, or TiO₂ nanorods (10 μg, 100 μg, or 1 mg/rat). On d 1, 3, and 6 posttreatment, left lungs were preserved for microscopy and histopathology, and lung lavage was performed on right lungs. Additional rats were treated with saline or TiO₂ nanorods (100 μg or 1 mg/rat) on d 0, intratracheally inoculated with 5 × 10(5) Listeria monocytogenes on d 3, and bacterial clearance was assessed. ESR showed a significant concentration-dependent generation of hydroxyl radicals by TiO₂ nanorods in the presence and absence of macrophages; however, the hydroxyl radical signals from TiO₂ samples were low compared to silica. Rats exposed to 1 mg of TiO₂ nanorods had significantly elevated levels of lung injury, inflammation, and lavage fluid monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-2 on d 1 and 3 that subsided by d 6, unlike the silica response that persisted. Immune cytokine secretion in the lung and bacterial clearance were not affected by preexposure to TiO₂ nanorods. To summarize, non-dispersed TiO₂ nanorods were found to induce radical formation and cellular oxidant production, and to generate transient and reversible pneumotoxic effects, and to not markedly alter pulmonary immune function.
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A 01/2011; 74(12):790-810. · 1.83 Impact Factor