Biocompatible nanoscale dispersion of single-walled carbon nanotubes minimizes in vivo pulmonary toxicity

Gökhan M. Mutlu, G. R.Scott Budinger, Alexander A. Green, Daniela Urich, Saul Soberanes, Sergio E. Chiarella, George F. Alheid, Donald R. McCrimmon, Igal Szleifer, Mark C. Hersam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

154 Scopus citations

Abstract

Excitement surrounding the attractive physical and chemical characteristics of single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) has been tempered by concerns regarding their potential health risks. Here we consider the lung toxicity of nanoscale dispersed SWCNTs (mean diameter ∼1 nm). Because dispersion of the SWCNTs increases their aspect ratio relative to as-produced aggregates, we directly test the prevailing hypothesis that lung toxicity associated with SWCNTs compared with other carbon structures is attributable to the large aspect ratio of the individual particles. Thirty days after their intratracheal administration to mice, the granuloma-like structures with mild fibrosis in the large airways observed in mice treated with aggregated SWCNTs were absent in mice treated with nanoscale dispersed SWCNTs. Examination of lung sections from mice treated with nanoscale dispersed SWCNTs revealed uptake of the SWCNTs by macrophages and gradual clearance over time. We conclude that the toxicity of SWCNTs in vivo is attributable to aggregation of the nanomaterial rather than the large aspect ratio of the individual nanotubes. Biocompatible nanoscale dispersion provides a scalable method to generate purified preparations of SWCNTs with minimal toxicity, thus allowing them to be used safely in commercial and biomedical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1664-1670
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 12 2010
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Biocompatible
  • Carbon nanotube
  • Purification
  • Safety
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering

Cite this

Mutlu, G. M., Budinger, G. R. S., Green, A. A., Urich, D., Soberanes, S., Chiarella, S. E., Alheid, G. F., McCrimmon, D. R., Szleifer, I., & Hersam, M. C. (2010). Biocompatible nanoscale dispersion of single-walled carbon nanotubes minimizes in vivo pulmonary toxicity. Nano Letters, 10(5), 1664-1670. https://doi.org/10.1021/nl9042483