Assessment of carbon nanoparticle exposure on murine macrophage function

Raquel M Suro-Maldonado, University of Texas at El Paso


There is growing concern about the potential cytotoxicity of nanoparticles. Exposure to respirable ultrafine particles (2.5uM) can adversely affect human health and have been implicated with episodes of increased respiratory diseases such as asthma and allergies. Nanoparticles are of particular interest because of their ability to penetrate into the lung and potentially elicit health effects triggering immune responses. Nanoparticles are structures and devises with length scales in the 1 to 100-nanometer range. Black carbon (BC) nanoparticles have been observed to be products of combustion, especially flame combustion and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) have been shown to be found in both indoor and outdoor air. Furthermore, asbestos, which have been known to cause mesothelioma as well as lung cancer, have been shown to be structurally identical to MWCNTs. The aims of these studies were to examine the effects of carbon nanoparticles on murine macrophage function and clearance mechanisms. Macrophages are immune cells that function as the first line of defense against invading pathogens and are likely to be amongst the first cells affected by nanoparticles. Our research focused on two manufactured nanoparticles, MWCNT and BC. The two were tested against murine-derived macrophages in a chronic contact model. We hypothesized that long-term chronic exposure to carbon nanoparticles would decrease macrophages ability to effectively respond to immunological challenge. Production of nitric oxide (NO), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), cell surface macrophage; activation markers, reactive oxygen species formation (ROS), and antigen processing and presentation were examined in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) following a 144hr exposure to the particulates. Data demonstrated an increase in TNF-alpha, and NO production; a decrease in phagocytosis and antigen processing and presentation; and a decrease in the expression levels of cell surface macrophage activation markers. The data suggests that carbon nanoparticle exposure alters macrophage responses to LPS marked by increased inflammation while potentially limiting clearance and ability to interact with effector T-cells. Thus, physiological exposure to carbon nanoparticles could potentially lead to ineffective pulmonary immunity. ^

Subject Area

Biology, General|Health Sciences, Toxicology|Nanotechnology

Recommended Citation

Suro-Maldonado, Raquel M, "Assessment of carbon nanoparticle exposure on murine macrophage function" (2012). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3552260.