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Inhal Toxicol. 2013 Aug;25(9):498-508. doi: 10.3109/08958378.2013.806614. Epub 2013 Jul 29.

Effects of copy center particles on the lungs: a toxicological characterization using a Balb/c mouse model.

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Center for Nanotechnology and Nanotoxicology, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



Printers and photocopiers release respirable particles into the air. Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) have been recently incorporated into toner formulations but their potential toxicological effects have not been well studied.


To evaluate the biological responses to copier-emitted particles in the lungs using a mouse model.


Particulate matter (PM) from a university copy center was sampled and fractionated into three distinct sizes, two of which (PM0.1 and PM0.1-2.5) were evaluated in this study. The particles were extracted and dispersed in deionized water and RPMI/10% FBS. Hydrodynamic diameter and zeta potential were evaluated by dynamic light scattering. The toxicological potential of these particles was studied using 8-week-old male Balb/c mice. Mice were intratracheally instilled with 0.2, 0.6, 2.0 mg/kg bw of either the PM0.1 and PM0.1-2.5 size fractions. Fe2O3 and welding fumes were used as comparative materials, while RPMI/10% FBS was used as the vehicle control. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) was performed 24 hours post-instillation. The BAL fluid was analyzed for total and differential cell counts, and biochemical markers of injury and inflammation.


Particle size- and dose-dependent pulmonary effects were found. Specifically, mice instilled with PM0.1 (2.0 mg/kg bw) had significant increases in neutrophil number, lactate dehydrogenase and albumin compared to vehicle control. Likewise, pro-inflammatory cytokines were elevated in mice exposed to PM0.1 (2.0 mg/kg bw) compared to other groups.


Our results indicate that exposure to copier-emitted nanoparticles may induce lung injury and inflammation. Further exposure assessment and toxicological investigations are necessary to address this emerging environmental health pollutant.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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