An In Vitro Lung System to Assess the Proinflammatory Hazard of Carbon Nanotube Aerosols

Hana Barosova, Bedia Begum Karakocak, Dedy Septiadi, Alke Petri-Fink, Vicki Stone, Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
103 Downloads (Pure)


In vitro three-dimensional (3D) lung cell models have been thoroughly investigated in recent years and provide a reliable tool to assess the hazard associated with nanomaterials (NMs) released into the air. In this study, a 3D lung co-culture model was optimized to assess the hazard potential of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), which is known to provoke inflammation and fibrosis, critical adverse outcomes linked to acute and prolonged NM exposure. The lung co-cultures were exposed to MWCNTs at the air-liquid interface (ALI) using the VITROCELL® Cloud system while considering realistic occupational exposure doses. The co-culture model was composed of three human cell lines: alveolar epithelial cells (A549), fibroblasts (MRC-5), and macrophages (differentiated THP-1). The model was exposed to two types of MWCNTs (Mitsui-7 and Nanocyl) at different concentrations (2-10 μg/cm2) to assess the proinflammatory as well as the profibrotic responses after acute (24 h, one exposure) and prolonged (96 h, repeated exposures) exposure cycles. The results showed that acute or prolonged exposure to different concentrations of the tested MWCNTs did not induce cytotoxicity or apparent profibrotic response; however, suggested the onset of proinflammatory response.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5335
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number15
Early online date27 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • air-liquid interface
  • carbon nanotubes
  • co-culture
  • in vitro
  • lung
  • multiwalled carbon nanotubes
  • profibrotic
  • proinflammatory
  • toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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