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      Functional consequences for primary human alveolar macrophages following treatment with long, but not short, multiwalled carbon nanotubes

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          Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) are a potential human health hazard, primarily via inhalation. In the lung, alveolar macrophages (AMs) provide the first line of immune cellular defense against inhaled materials. We hypothesized that, 1 and 5 days after treating AMs with short (0.6 μm in length; MWCNT-0.6 μm) and long (20 μm in length; MWCNT-20 μm) MWCNTs for 24 hours, AMs would exhibit increased markers of adverse bioreactivity (cytokine release and reactive oxygen species generation) while also having a modified functional ability (phagocytosis and migration).


          Primary human AMs were treated with short and long MWCNTs for 24 hours, 1 and 5 days after which toxicity end points, including cell death, reactive oxygen species generation, and inflammatory mediator release, were measured. AM functional end points involving phagocytic ability and migratory capacity were also measured.


          AM viability was significantly decreased at 1 and 5 days after treatment with MWCNT-20 μm, while superoxide levels and inflammatory mediator release were significantly increased. At the same time, there was reduced phagocytosis and migratory capacity alongside increased expression of MARCO; this coincided with frustrated phagocytosis observed by scanning electron microscopy. In contrast, the adverse bioreactivity of the shorter MWCNT-0.6 μm with AMs (and any resulting reduction in AM functional ability) was substantially less marked or absent altogether.


          This study shows that after 24-hour treatment with long, but not short, MWCNTs, AM function is severely affected up to 5 days after the initial exposure. This has potentially significant pathophysiological consequences for individuals who may be intentionally (via therapeutic applications) or unintentionally exposed to these nanomaterials.

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          Most cited references 46

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          Carbon nanotubes: present and future commercial applications.

          Worldwide commercial interest in carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is reflected in a production capacity that presently exceeds several thousand tons per year. Currently, bulk CNT powders are incorporated in diverse commercial products ranging from rechargeable batteries, automotive parts, and sporting goods to boat hulls and water filters. Advances in CNT synthesis, purification, and chemical modification are enabling integration of CNTs in thin-film electronics and large-area coatings. Although not yet providing compelling mechanical strength or electrical or thermal conductivities for many applications, CNT yarns and sheets already have promising performance for applications including supercapacitors, actuators, and lightweight electromagnetic shields.
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            Macrophage receptors and immune recognition.

            Macrophages express a broad range of plasma membrane receptors that mediate their interactions with natural and altered-self components of the host as well as a range of microorganisms. Recognition is followed by surface changes, uptake, signaling, and altered gene expression, contributing to homeostasis, host defense, innate effector mechanisms, and the induction of acquired immunity. This review covers recent studies of selected families of structurally defined molecules, studies that have improved understanding of ligand discrimination in the absence of opsonins and differential responses by macrophages and related myeloid cells.
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              Essential involvement of interleukin-8 (IL-8) in acute inflammation.

               T Akahoshi,  T Wada,  N Sekido (1994)
              Neutrophil infiltration into inflammatory sites is one of the hallmarks of acute inflammation. Locally produced chemotactic factors are presumed to mediate the sequence of events leading to the infiltration at inflammatory sites. Interleukin-8 (IL-8), a novel leukocyte chemotactic activating cytokine (chemokine), is produced by various types of cells upon stimulation with inflammatory stimuli and exerts a variety of functions on leukocytes, particularly, neutrophils in vitro. However, no definitive evidence has been presented on its role in recruiting and activating neutrophils in the lesions of various types of inflammatory reactions. We administered a highly specific neutralizing antibody against IL-8 in several types of acute inflammatory reactions, including lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced dermatitis, LPS/IL-1-induced arthritis, lung reperfusion injury, and acute immune complex-type glomerulonephritis. Anti-IL-8 treatment prevented neutrophil-dependent tissue damage as well as neutrophil infiltration in these conditions. These results suggest that IL-8 plays a causative role in acute inflammation by recruiting and activating neutrophils.

                Author and article information

                Int J Nanomedicine
                Int J Nanomedicine
                International Journal of Nanomedicine
                International Journal of Nanomedicine
                Dove Medical Press
                23 April 2015
                : 10
                : 3115-3129
                Lung Cell Biology, Section of Pharmacology and Toxicology, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, UK
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Teresa D Tetley, Lung Cell Biology, Section of Pharmacology and Toxicology, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, Dovehouse Street, London SW3 6LY, UK, Tel +44 20 7594 2984, Email t.tetley@
                © 2015 Sweeney et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Molecular medicine

                bioreactivity, phagocytosis, cytokines, alveolar macrophages, mwcnts, nanotechnology


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