Respiratory and systemic impacts following MWCNT inhalation in B6C3F1/N mice

Christopher T. Migliaccio, Raymond F. Hamilton, Pamela K. Shaw, Joseph F. Rhoderick, Sanghamitra Deb, Rohit Bhargava, Jack R. Harkema, Andrij Holian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: A very pure multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) that was shown to have very low toxicity in vitro, was evaluated for lung and systemic effects and distribution following inhalation exposure. Methods: B6C3F1/N mice were exposed to varying doses (0, 0.06, 0.2, and 0.6 mg/m3) of the (99.1% carbon) MWCNT by inhalation for 30 days (excluding weekends). Ten days following the last exposure, the lungs and spleen were harvested and processed for histology and immune cell population assessment. In addition, lung lavage cells and fluid were analyzed. Stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) was used to identify particles in the lungs, spleen, kidneys, liver, mediastinal and brachial lymph nodes, and olfactory bulb. Splenic tissue sections were stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) for light microscopic histopathology assessment. Blood plasma was analyzed for cytokines and cathepsins. A section of the spleen was processed for RNA isolation and relative gene expression for 84 inflammation-related cytokines/chemokines. Results: Following MWCNT exposure, particles were clearly evident in the lungs, spleens, lymph nodes and olfactory bulbs, (but not livers or kidneys) of exposed mice in a dose-dependent manner. Examination of the lavaged lung cells was unremarkable with no significant inflammation indicated at all particle doses. In contrast, histological examination of the spleen indicated the presence of apoptotic bodies within T cells regions of the white pulp area. Isolated splenic leukocytes had significant changes in various cells including an increased number of proinflammatory CD11b+Ly6C+ splenic cells. The gene expression studies confirmed this observation as several inflammation-related genes were upregulated particularly in the high dose exposure (0.6 mg/m3). Blood plasma evaluations showed a systemic down-regulation of inflammatory cytokines and a dose-dependent up-regulation of lysosomal cathepsins. Conclusions: The findings in the lungs were consistent with our hypothesis that this MWCNT exposure would result in minimal lung inflammation and injury. However, the low toxicity of the MWCNT to lung macrophages may have contributed to enhanced migration of the MWCNT to the spleen through the lymph nodes, resulting in splenic toxicity and systemic changes in inflammatory mediators.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalParticle and Fibre Toxicology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Respiratory and systemic impacts following MWCNT inhalation in B6C3F1/N mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this