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Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2003;105(1-4):77-80.

Stochastic model of ultrafine particle deposition and clearance in the human respiratory tract.

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Institute of Physics and Biophysics, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunner Str. 34, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria.


Deposition and clearance of insoluble ultrafine particles, ranging from 1 to 100 nm, were simulated by stochastic models using Monte Carlo methods. Brownian motion is the dominant mode of deposition in human airways. The additional effects of convective diffusion in bifurcations and axial diffusion (convective mixing) primarily affect particle transport and deposition of particles in the 1-10 nm range. Regarding total deposition, the effects of both convective mechanisms are practically compensated by the concomitant effect of molecular radial diffusion (Brownian motion). During the first hours following inhalation, 1 nm particles are predicted to be cleared much faster than particles in the size range from 10 to 100 nm, with a retained fraction of about 80% after 24 h. For 1-10 nm particles, extracellular transfer to blood is the most likely mode of clearance, while uptake and subsequent accumulation in epithelial cells are assumed to be the preferential mechanisms for 10-100 nm particles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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