Exposure of pregnant mice to carbon black by intratracheal instillation: Toxicogenomic effects in dams and offspring

Petra Jackson, Karin S. Hougaard, Ulla Vogel, Dongmei Wu, Lorraine Casavant, Andrew Williams, Mike Wade, Carole L. Yauk, Erik Håkan Richard Wallin, Sabina Halappanavar

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Exposure to nanomaterials (NM) during sensitive developmental stages may predispose organisms to diseases later in life. However, direct translocation of NM from mother to fetus through the placenta is limited. The present study tests the hypothesis that pulmonary exposure to NM and NM-induced response, such as inflammation during gestation, leads to secondary effects in the fetus. Time-mated C57BL/6BomTac mice were exposed by intratracheal instillation to vehicle (Nanopure water) or one of three concentrations (2.75, 13.5 or 67μg in 40μl Nanopure water) of carbon black Printex 90 (CB) on gestational days 7, 10, 15 and 18, to final cumulative doses of 11, 54 or 268μg/animal. Samples from a subset of male and female newborns were collected on postnatal day 2 (4days after the last maternal exposure) and from dams 26 to 27days post-exposure (post-weaning period). Histopathology, DNA microarrays, pathway-specific RT-PCR arrays, focussed RT-PCR, and tissue protein analysis were employed to characterize pulmonary response in dams exposed to CB during pregnancy. Hepatic gene expression in newborns was interpreted in light of the observed biological responses and gene expression changes arising in the lungs of dams following CB exposure. Although retention of CB particles was observed in dams from both the medium and the high dose groups, neutrophil-marked inflammation and altered expression of several cytokines and chemokines, both at the transcriptional and tissue protein levels, was significant only in the high dose group. Analysis of newborn livers by DNA microarrays revealed that female offspring were more sensitive to maternal exposure than male offspring. Cellular signalling, inflammation, cell cycle and lipid metabolism were among the biological pathways affected in female offspring. Males, however, responded with subtle changes in metabolism-related genes. Further investigation is required to determine the long-term health consequences of the gene expression changes in offspring and response to environmental stresses.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalMutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
    Issue number1-2
    Pages (from-to)73-83
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Gene expression
    • Pregnancy
    • Printex 90
    • Developmental toxicity
    • Nanoparticles

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