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Mol Cell Biochem. 2011 Jun;352(1-2):57-63. doi: 10.1007/s11010-011-0739-z. Epub 2011 Feb 5.

Cellular cytotoxic response induced by highly purified multi-wall carbon nanotube in human lung cells.

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Department of Integrative Physiology and Bio-System Control, Shinshu University School of Medicine, Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan.


Carbon nanotubes, a promising nanomaterial with unique characteristics, have applications in a variety of fields. The cytotoxic effects of carbon nanotubes are partially due to the induction of oxidative stress; however, the detailed mechanisms of nanotube cytotoxicity and their interaction with cells remain unclear. In this study, the authors focus on the acute toxicity of vapor-grown carbon fiber, HTT2800, which is one of the most highly purified multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) by high-temperature thermal treatment. The authors exposed human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) to HTT2800 and measured the cellular uptake, mitochondrial function, cellular LDH release, apoptotic signaling, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and pro-inflammatory cytokine release. The HTT2800-exposed cells showed cellular uptake of the carbon nanotube, increased cell death, enhanced DNA damage, and induced cytokine release. However, the exposed cells showed no obvious intracellular ROS generation. These cellular and molecular findings suggest that HTT2800 could cause a potentially adverse inflammatory response in BEAS-2B cells.

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