Grouping MWCNTs based on their similar potential to cause pulmonary hazard after inhalation: A Case-Study

Fiona Murphy, Nicklas Raun Jacobsen, Emilio D'Ianni, Helinor Jane Johnston, Hedwig Braakhuis, Willie J. G. M. Peijnenburg, Agnes G. Oomen, Teresa F. Fernandes, Vicki Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


The EU-project GRACIOUS developed an Integrated Approach to Testing and Assessment (IATA) to support grouping high aspect ratio nanomaterials (HARNs) presenting a similar inhalation hazard. Application of grouping reduces the need to assess toxicity on a case-by-case basis and supports read-across of hazard data from substances that have the data required for risk assessment (source) to those that lack such data (target). The HARN IATA, based on the fibre paradigm for pathogenic fibres, facilitates structured data gathering to propose groups of similar HARN and to support read-across by prompting users to address relevant questions regarding HARN morphology, biopersistence and inflammatory potential. The IATA is structured in tiers, allowing grouping decisions to be made using simple in vitro or in silico methods in Tier1 progressing to in vivo approaches at the highest Tier3. Here we present a case-study testing the applicability of GRACIOUS IATA to form an evidence-based group of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) posing a similar predicted fibre-hazard, to support read-across and reduce the burden of toxicity testing.

The case-study uses data on 15 different MWCNT, obtained from the published literature. By following the IATA, a group of 2 MWCNT was identified (NRCWE006 and NM-401) based on a high degree of similarity. A pairwise similarity assessment was subsequently conducted between the grouped MWCNT to evaluate the potential to conduct read-across and fill data gaps required for regulatory hazard assessment. The similarity assessment, based on expert judgement of Tier 1 assay results, predicts both MWCNT are likely to cause a similar acute in vivo hazard. This result supports the possibility for read-across of sub-chronic and chronic hazard endpoint data for lung fibrosis and carcinogenicity between the 2 grouped MWCNT. The implications of accepting the similarity assessment based on expert judgement of the MWCNT group are considered to stimulate future discussion on the level of similarity between group members considered sufficient to allow regulatory acceptance of a read-across argument.

This proof-of-concept case-study demonstrates how a grouping hypothesis and IATA may be used to support a nuanced and evidence-based grouping of ‘similar’ MWCNT and the subsequent interpolation of data between group members to streamline the hazard assessment process.
Original languageEnglish
Article number50
JournalParticle and Fibre Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2022


  • Grouping
  • High aspect ratio nanomaterials
  • Read-across

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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