Carbon nanotube dosimetry: From workplace exposure assessment to inhalation toxicology

Particle and Fibre Toxicology (Impact Factor: 7.11). 10/2013; 10(1):53. DOI: 10.1186/1743-8977-10-53
Source: PubMed


Dosimetry for toxicology studies involving carbon nanotubes (CNT) is challenging because of a lack of detailed occupational exposure assessments. Therefore, exposure assessment findings, measuring the mass concentration of elemental carbon from personal breathing zone (PBZ) samples, from 8 U.S.-based multi-walled CNT (MWCNT) manufacturers and users were extrapolated to results of an inhalation study in mice.
Upon analysis, an inhalable elemental carbon mass concentration arithmetic mean of 10.6 mug/m3 (geometric mean 4.21 mug/m3) was found among workers exposed to MWCNT. The concentration equates to a deposited dose of approximately 4.07 mug/d in a human, equivalent to 2 ng/d in the mouse. For MWCNT inhalation, mice were exposed for 19 d with daily depositions of 1970 ng (equivalent to 1000 d of a human exposure; cumulative 76 yr), 197 ng (100 d; 7.6 yr), and 19.7 ng (10 d; 0.76 yr) and harvested at 0, 3, 28, and 84 d post-exposure to assess pulmonary toxicity. The high dose showed cytotoxicity and inflammation that persisted through 84 d after exposure. The middle dose had no polymorphonuclear cell influx with transient cytotoxicity. The low dose was associated with a low grade inflammatory response measured by changes in mRNA expression. Increased inflammatory proteins were present in the lavage fluid at the high and middle dose through 28 d post-exposure. Pathology, including epithelial hyperplasia and peribronchiolar inflammation, was only noted at the high dose.
These findings showed a limited pulmonary inflammatory potential of MWCNT at levels corresponding to the average inhalable elemental carbon concentrations observed in U.S.-based CNT facilities and estimates suggest considerable years of exposure are necessary for significant pathology to occur at that level.

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Available from: Douglas E Evans
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    • "The dose of 56 μg corresponds to 3 times the life-long dose and 162 μg/mouse corresponds to 9 times the proposed life dose. Work place exposure to CNT are reported in the range of 10–300 μg/m 3 (Birch et al., 2011; Dahm et al., 2013; Erdely et al., 2013; Han et al., 2008; Lee et al., 2010; Maynard et al., 2004; Methner et al., 2010b, 2012), thus 10–300 times above the proposed exposure limit. At an air concentration of 10 μg/m 3 , 162 μg/mouse would correspond to the total dose during a 40-year working life, whereas 162 μg/mouse corresponds to pulmonary deposition during 1.5 work years at 300 μg/m 3 . "
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    ABSTRACT: Adverse lung effects following pulmonary exposure to multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) are well documented in rodents. However, systemic effects are less understood. Epidemiological studies have shown increased cardiovascular disease risk after pulmonary exposure to airborne particles, which has led to concerns that inhalation exposure to MWCNTs might pose similar risks. We analyzed parameters related to cardiovascular disease, including plasma acute phase response (APR) proteins and plasma lipids, in female C57BL/6 mice exposed to a single intratracheal instillation of 0, 18, 54 or 162μg/mouse of small, entangled (CNTSmall, 0.8±0.1μm long) or large, thick MWCNTs (CNTLarge, 4±0.4μm long). Liver tissues and plasma were harvested 1, 3 and 28days post-exposure. In addition, global hepatic gene expression, hepatic cholesterol content and liver histology were used to assess hepatic effects. The two MWCNTs induced similar systemic responses despite their different physicochemical properties. APR proteins SAA3 and haptoglobin, plasma total cholesterol and low-density/very low-density lipoprotein were significantly increased following exposure to either MWCNTs. Plasma SAA3 levels correlated strongly with pulmonary Saa3 levels. Analysis of global gene expression revealed perturbation of the same biological processes and pathways in liver, including the HMG-CoA reductase pathway. Both MWCNTs induced similar histological hepatic changes, with a tendency towards greater response following CNTLarge exposure.Overall, we show that pulmonary exposure to two different MWCNTs induces similar systemic and hepatic responses, including changes in plasma APR, lipid composition, hepatic gene expression and liver morphology. The results link pulmonary exposure to MWCNTs with risk of cardiovascular disease.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology
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    • "For example, the lowest dose which induced positive in vivo biological response was 10 μg/mouse lung (0.5 mg/kg body weight) [8,9]. Dividing this dose by the average alveolar surface area in mice (~500 cm2) [33] indicates the in vitro surface area dose of 0.02 μg/cm2, which is equivalent to a human lung burden for 8 hours/day over a month at 400 μg/m3 (high CNT level reported in a research facility) [34] or about 3 years at 10 μg/m3 (average CNT level in U.S. facilities) [35]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Carbon nanotubes (CNT) hold great promise to create new and better products for commercial and biomedical applications, but their long-term adverse health effects are a major concern. The objective of this study was to address human lung cancer risks associated with chronic pulmonary exposure to single-walled (SW) CNT through the fundamental understanding of cellular and molecular processes leading to carcinogenesis. We hypothesized that the acquisition of cancer stem cells (CSC), a subpopulation that drive tumor initiation and progression, may contribute to CNT carcinogenesis. Methods Non-tumorigenic human lung epithelial cells were chronically exposed to well-dispersed SWCNT for a period of 6 months at the physiologically relevant concentration of 0.02 μg/cm2 surface area dose. Chronic SWCNT-exposed cells were evaluated for the presence of CSC-like cells under CSC-selective conditions of tumor spheres and side population (SP). CSC-like cells were isolated using fluorescence-activated cell sorting and were assessed for aggressive behaviors, including acquired apoptosis resistance and increased cell migration and invasion in vitro, and tumor-initiating capability in vivo. Non-small cell lung cancer cells served as a positive control. Results We demonstrated for the first time the existence of CSC-like cells in all clones of chronic SWCNT-exposed lung epithelial cells. These CSC-like cells, in contrary to their non-CSC counterpart, possessed all biological features of lung CSC that are central to irreversible malignant transformation, self-renewal, aggressive cancer behaviors, and in vivo tumorigenesis. These cells also displayed aberrant stem cell markers, notably Nanog, SOX-2, SOX-17 and E-cadherin. Restored expression of tumor suppressor p53 abrogated CSC properties of CSC-like cells. Furthermore, we identified specific stem cell surface markers CD24low and CD133high that are associated with SWCNT-induced CSC formation and tumorigenesis. Conclusions Our findings provide new and compelling evidence for the acquisition of CSC-like cells induced by chronic SWCNT exposure, which are likely to be a major driving force for SWCNT tumorigenesis. Thus, our study supports prudent adoption of prevention strategies and implementation of exposure control for SWCNT. We also suggest that the detection of CSC and associated surface markers may provide an effective screening tool for prediction of the carcinogenic potential of SWCNT and related nanoparticles.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Particle and Fibre Toxicology
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    • "Non-tumorigenic human lung epithelial BEAS-2B cells were continuously exposed to non-cytotoxic SWCNTs at 0.02 μg/cm2 in culture for 6 months. This dose, which is equivalent to a human lung burden for 8 hours/day over a month at 400 μg/m3 (high CNT level reported in a research facility) [53] or about 3 years at 10 μg/m3 (average CNT level in U.S. facilities) [54], was calculated from the lowest dose which induced positive in vivo biological response (10 μg/mouse lung). The cells were passaged weekly at preconfluent densities using a solution containing 0.05% trypsin and 0.5 mM EDTA (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, CA). "
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    ABSTRACT: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) may represent targets for carcinogenic initiation by chemical and environmental agents. Recent studies have raised a concern over the potential carcinogenicity of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), one of the most commonly used engineered nanomaterials with asbestos-like properties. Here, we show that chronic (6-month) exposure of human lung epithelial cells to single-walled (SW) CNTs at the workplace-relevant concentration induced an emergence of lung CSCs, as indicated by the induction of CSC tumor spheres and side population (SP). These CSCs, which were found to overexpress tumor promoter caveolin-1 (Cav-1), displayed aggressive cancer phenotypes of apoptosis resistance and enhanced cell invasion and migration compared with their non-CSC counterpart. Using gene manipulation strategies, we reveal for the first time that Cav-1 plays an essential role in CSC regulation and aggressiveness of SWCNT-transformed cells partly through p53 dysregulation, consistent with their suggested role by microarray and gene ontology analysis. Cav-1 not only promoted tumorigenesis in a xenograft mouse model but also metastasis of the transformed cells to neighboring tissues. Since CSCs are crucial to the initiation and early development of carcinogenesis, our findings on CSC induction by SWCNTs and Cav-1 could aid in the early detection and risk assessment of the disease.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Oncotarget
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