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CarbonBlack: A joint research project to establish a test system for predicting human-toxicological effects of synthetic carbon black nanoparticles

: Fehrenbach, Heinz; Müller, B.; König, P.; Hansen, Tanja; Bockhorn, H.


Pneumologie 67 (2013), Nr.12, S.699
ISSN: 0934-8387
Scientific Symposium "Good Particles - Bad Particles - Interaction of (Carbon) Nano Particles with Lung Cells" <2013, Borstel>
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Konferenzbeitrag
Fraunhofer ITEM ()

The worldwide industrial production of Carbon black nanoparticles (CBNP) amounts to several mega tons per year. About 90% are used for reinforcement of rubber and plastic material, about 10% in printing inks, dyes etc. During synthesis and manufacturing CBNP can adsorb diverse substances at their surface. Whether the risk potential arises directly from CBNP or indirectly from surface adsorbed materials is still enigmatic.
The joint research project CarbonBlack aims at establishing a test system composed of several models with increasing complexity that can be used for assessing the potential toxicological effects of CBNP on airways and lungs. The multi-stage test system ranges from (human) lung epithelial cell line in vitro models via ex vivo tissue culture models to the final assessment in an in vivo rat inhalation model.
To accomplish this, five sub-projects tightly interacted. In sub-project 1 (KIT) gas-flame synthesized CBNP were modified with respect to the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and substituted PAH on their surface. Reference and functionalized particles as well as CBNP suspensions in buffers were characterized in detail and delivered as stock material to the other partners who tested CBNP in comparison to appropriate negative and positive controls in their models. Sub-project 2 (ITEM) tested CBNP in lung and airway epithelial human cell lines as well as in precision cut lung slices. Sub-project 3 (UzL) investigated CBNP effects in explanted mouse trachea whereas sub-project 4 (RCB) tested the response of murine proximal and distal intrapulmonary airways in vitro. Sub-project 5 (PUM) assessed effects of CBNP on primary alveolar epithelial cells of mice as well as on mice lungs after CBNP instillation. Finally, in vivo inhalation experiments are currently performed by sub-project 2 (ITEM). Whereas several readouts such as necrosis, apoptosis, oxidative stress and cytokine production were analysed in each sub-project, other parameters such as transepithelial electric resistance (cell lines), ciliary beat frequency (trachea), xenobiotic (intrapulmonary airways) or surfactant (alveolar epithelial cells) metabolism were measured in specific lung compartments.
Our results suggest that there are differences in the biological response to CBNP that depend both on the lung compartment studied and the chemical nature of the CBNP surface.