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J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2007 Dec;70(24):2071-9.

Single-walled carbon nanotubes: geno- and cytotoxic effects in lung fibroblast V79 cells.

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Pathology/Physiology Research Branch, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, West Virginia 26505, USA.


With the development of nanotechnology, there is a tremendous growth of the application of nanomaterials, which increases the risk of human exposure to these nanomaterials through inhalation, ingestion, and dermal penetration. Among different types of nanoparticles, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) with extremely small size (1 nm in diameter) exhibit extraordinary properties and offer possibilities to create materials with astounding features. Since the release of nanoparticles in an enclosed environment is of great concern, a study of possible genotoxic effects is important. Our previous data showed that pharyngeal aspiration of SWCNT elicited pulmonary effects in C57BL/6 mice that was promoted by a robust, acute inflammatory reaction with early onset resulting in progressive interstitial fibrogenic response and the formation of granulomas. In the present study, the genotoxic potential of SWCNT was evaluated in vitro. The genotoxic effects of nanoparticles were examined using three different test systems: the comet assay and micronucleus (MN) test in a lung fibroblast (V79) cell line, and the Salmonella gene mutation assay in strains YG1024/YG1029. Cytotoxicity tests showed loss of viability in a concentration- and time-dependent manner after exposure of cells to SWCNT. Results from the comet assay demonstrated the induction of DNA damage after only 3 h of incubation with 96 microg/cm2 of SWCNT. The MN test indicated some but not significant micronucleus induction by SWCNT in the V79 cell line at the highest concentrations tested. With two different strains of Salmonella typhimurium, no mutations were found following SWCNT exposure.

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