Multi-walled carbon nanotube physicochemical properties predict pulmonary inflammation and genotoxicity

Sarah S. Poulsen, Petra Jackson, Kirsten Kling, Kristina B. Knudsen, Vidar Skaug, Zdenka O. Kyjovska, Birthe L. Thomsen, Per Axel Clausen, Rambabu Atluri, Trine Berthing, Stefan Bengtson, Henrik Wolff, Keld A. Jensen, Håkan Wallin, Ulla Birgitte Vogel

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    287 Downloads (Pure)


    Lung deposition of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) induces pulmonary toxicity. Commercial MWCNT vary greatly in physicochemical properties and consequently in biological effects. To identify determinants of MWCNT-induced toxicity, we analyzed the effects of pulmonary exposure to 10 commercial MWCNT (supplied in three groups of different dimensions, with one pristine and two/three surface modified in each group). We characterized morphology, chemical composition, surface area and functionalization levels. MWCNT were deposited in lungs of female C57BL/6J mice by intratracheal instillation of 0, 6, 18 or 54g/mouse. Pulmonary inflammation (neutrophil influx in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL)) and genotoxicity were determined on day 1, 28 or 92. Histopathology of the lungs was performed on day 28 and 92. All MWCNT induced similar histological changes. Lymphocytic aggregates were detected for all MWCNT on day 28 and 92. Using adjusted, multiple regression analyses, inflammation and genotoxicity were related to dose, time and physicochemical properties. The specific surface area (BET) was identified as a positive predictor of pulmonary inflammation on all post-exposure days. In addition, length significantly predicted pulmonary inflammation, whereas surface oxidation (-OH and -COOH) was predictor of lowered inflammation on day 28. BET surface area, and therefore diameter, significantly predicted genotoxicity in BAL fluid cells and lung tissue such that lower BET surface area or correspondingly larger diameter was associated with increased genotoxicity. This study provides information on possible toxicity-driving physicochemical properties of MWCNT. The results may contribute to safe-by-design manufacturing of MWCNT, thereby minimizing adverse effects.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number9
    Pages (from-to)1263-1275
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License


    • BET surface area
    • CNT-length
    • CNT-diameter
    • Functionalization
    • Lymphocytic aggregates

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Multi-walled carbon nanotube physicochemical properties predict pulmonary inflammation and genotoxicity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this