Predicting the Impact of Engineered Nanomaterials on Lung Diseases

Title: Predicting the Impact of Engineered Nanomaterials on Lung Diseases


Speaker: Dr. James C. Bonner

Associate Professor

Department of Environmental & Molecular Toxicology,

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC


Date: February  27, 2014
Time: 12:30-1:30 pm
Place: 665 Huntington Ave, Building 1, Room 1302, Boston, MA 02115

Abstract:  The nanotechnology revolution offers enormous societal and economic benefits for innovation in the fields of engineering, electronics, and medicine. Nevertheless, evidence from rodent inhalation studies show that biopersistent engineered nanomaterials, including carbon nanotubes and metal nanoparticles, have the potential to stimulate immune, inflammatory, or fibroproliferative responses in the lung and pleura. These data suggest possible risks for pulmonary fibrosis or the development of pleural disease as a consequence of occupational or consumer exposure. Some engineered nanomaterials also exacerbate pre-existing allergen-induced inflammation by altering the balance of distinct T-helper cell phenotypes, suggesting that they could serve as sensitizers or adjuvants to alter the innate immune response.  These findings suggest that individuals with asthma or other pre-existing respiratory diseases would be particularly susceptible to the adverse health effects of nanomaterials. Due to their nanoscale dimensions and increased surface area per unit mass, engineered nanomaterials have a much greater potential to reach the distal regions of the lung, generate reactive oxygen species, and alter cell signaling pathways linked to disease pathogenesis. The goal of this presentation will be to discuss mechanisms through which engineered nanomaterials cause lung, airway, and pleural disease, especially in the context of susceptible individuals with pre-existing disease. Functionalization of nanomaterials through processes such as atomic layer deposition will also be discussed as a means of altering the pathogenicity of nanomaterials.