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Systemic and immunotoxicity of pristine and PEGylated multi-walled carbon nanotubes in an intravenous 28 days repeated dose toxicity study

Authors Zhang T, Tang M, Zhang SS, Hu YY, Li H, Zhang T, Xue YY, Pu YP

Received 28 September 2016

Accepted for publication 11 January 2017

Published 27 February 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 1539—1554

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S123345

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Akshita Wason

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Linlin Sun


Ting Zhang,1–3 Meng Tang,1–3 Shanshan Zhang,1–3 Yuanyuan Hu,1–3 Han Li,4 Tao Zhang,4 Yuying Xue,1–3 Yuepu Pu1–3

1Key Laboratory of Environmental Medicine Engineering, Ministry of Education, School of Public Health, Southeast University, Nanjing, China; 2Jiangsu key Laboratory for Biomaterials and Devices, Southeast University, Nanjing, China; 3Collaborative Innovation Center of Suzhou Nano Science and Technology, Suzhou, China; 4Department of Material Science and Engineering, National Key Laboratory of Solid State Microstructures, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China

Abstract: The numerous increasing use of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) derived from nanotechnology has raised concerns about their biosafety and potential toxicity. CNTs cause immunologic dysfunction and limit the application of CNTs in biomedicine. The immunological responses induced by pristine multi-walled carbon nanotubes (p-MWCNTs) and PEGylated multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs-PEG) on BALB/c mice via an intravenous administration were investigated. The results reflect that the p-MWCNTs induced significant increases in spleen, thymus, and lung weight. Mice treated with p-MWCNTs showed altered lymphocyte populations (CD3+, CD4+, CD8+, and CD19+) in peripheral blood and increased serum IgM and IgG levels, and splenic macrophage ultrastructure indicated mitochondria swelling. p-MWCNTs inhibited humoral and cellular immunity function and were associated with decreased immune responses against sheep erythrocytes and serum hemolysis level. Natural killer (NK) activity was not modified by two types of MWCNTs. In comparison with two types of MWCNTs, for a same dose, p-MWCNTs caused higher levels of inflammation and immunosuppression than MWCNTs-PEG. The results of immunological function suggested that after intravenous administration with p-MWCNTs caused more damage to systemic immunity than MWCNTs- PEG. Here, we demonstrated that a surface functional modification on MWCNTs reduces their immune perturbations in vivo. The chemistry-modified MWCNTs change their preferred immune response in vivo and reduce the immunotoxicity of p-MWCNTs.

Keywords: multi-walled carbon nanotubes, surface-functionalized, immunotoxicity, BALB/c mice, immunosuppression

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