Toxicological Profiling of Highly Purified Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes with Different Lengths in the Rodent Lung and Escherichia Coli

Xiang Wang, Jae Hyeok Lee, Ruibin Li, Yu Pei Liao, Joohoon Kang, Chong Hyun Chang, Linda M. Guiney, Vahid Mirshafiee, Linjiang Li, Jianqin Lu, Tian Xia, Mark C. Hersam, André E. Nel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) exhibit a number of physicochemical properties that contribute to adverse biological outcomes. However, it is difficult to define the independent contribution of individual properties without purified materials. A library of highly purified single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) of different lengths is prepared from the same base material by density gradient ultracentrifugation, designated as short (318 nm), medium (789 nm), and long (1215 nm) SWCNTs. In vitro screening shows length-dependent interleukin-1β (IL-1β) production, in order of long > medium > short. However, there are no differences in transforming growth factor-β1 production in BEAS-2B cells. Oropharyngeal aspiration shows that all the SWCNTs induce profibrogenic effects in mouse lung at 21 d postexposure, but there are no differences between tube lengths. In contrast, these SWCNTs demonstrate length-dependent antibacterial effects on Escherichia coli, with the long SWCNT exerting stronger effects than the medium or short tubes. These effects are reduced by Pluronic F108 coating or supplementing with glucose. The data show length-dependent effects on proinflammatory response in macrophage cell line and antibacterial effects, but not on collagen deposition in the lung. These data demonstrate that over the length scale tested, the biological response to highly purified SWCNTs is dependent on the complexity of the nano/bio interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1703915
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 7 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • antibacterial effects
  • density gradient ultracentrifugation (DGU)
  • length sorting
  • lung fibrosis
  • single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science


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