Category Archives: NanoLecture Series 2013-2014

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.

Carcinogenic and Fibrogenic Potential of Carbon Nanotubes

Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 12.56.55 PMDr. Yon Rojanasakul


School of Pharmacy, West Virginia University

 Dr. Liying Wang, M.D.

Adjunct Professor, 

Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences, West Virginia University

Date:         December 12, 2013

Time:          12:30-1:30pm

Place:        665 Huntington Ave,

Bldg 1, Room 1302,

Boston, MA 02115


Abstract: Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are high-aspect ratio nanomaterials that have increasingly been used in a wide variety of commercial applications owing to their unique properties such as high tensile strength, extreme light weight, and high electrical and thermal conductivity. There is a great concern about the potential pathogenicity of CNTs because of their biopersistence, mode of exposure, and structure similarity to asbestos fiber, which is a known human pathogen causing mesothelioma and asbestosis. Our laboratories have been investigating the long-term health effects of CNT exposure with a focus on lung carcinogenesis and fibrosis. There is evidence that CNTs can gain access to the nucleus and cause genetic aberrations. A recent animal exposure study indicates the tumor promoting effect of CNTs. Studies in our laboratories have shown that chronic exposure of human lung epithelial cells to CNTs induces malignant transformation of the cells as demonstrated by anchorage-independent cell growth, loss of contact inhibition, increased cell invasion, and acquired apoptosis resistance. The transformed cells also induce tumorigenesis in mice, supporting the potential tumorigenicity of CNTs in humans. CNTs also induce pulmonary fibrosis, a pathology that is often associated with particle-induced lung cancer. This talk will focus on the in vitro and in vivo evidence of lung pathologies caused by CNTs and will examine the potential underlying mechanisms with the goal of developing mechanism-based risk assessment and early detection strategies.

Challenges in Exposure Assessment: From Nanoparticles to Bioaerosols, by Dr. Gediminas “Gedi” Mainelis

Title: Challenges in Exposure Assessment: From Nanoparticles to Bioaerosols

Speaker: Dr. Gediminas “Gedi” Mainelis 

Associate Professor

Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University,

The State University of New Jersey, NJ, USA

Date: October 17, 2013
Time: 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Place: 665 Huntington Ave, Building 1, Room 1302, Boston, MA 02115

Abstract:  Health-relevant aerosols present a challenging and multi-faceted aerosol research area ranging from nanoparticles, to environmental exposures to indoor aerosols. Mainelis’ lab at Rutgers University has been actively investigating potential exposures to engineered nanoparticles from consumer products and developing novel tools for bioaerosol exposure assessment. We recently began investigation of potential consumer exposures to nanoparticles due to the use of nanotechnology-based consumer products. To realistically simulate potential exposures, we used a manikin head with simulated inhalation through its nostrils, while the products were used nearby (sprays) or applied to the manikin’ face (cosmetic powders). We found that the tested nanotechnology-based products released particles not only in the nanosize range but also in coarse and for some products in super-coarse particle size ranges. The release and inhalation of nanoparticles and their agglomerates in such a wide size range would result in particle deposition in all regions of the respiratory system and thus, health studies should focus not only on single nanoparticles, but also on deposition and health effects of larger agglomerates. To improve bioaerosol exposure assessment, we have been developing a novel electrostatic collector for bioaerosols, where biological particles are electrostatically deposited onto a narrow electrode covered by a superhydrophobic substance and then removed and collected by a rolling water droplet (5 to 40 microliters) to achieve an unprecedented sample concentration rate, whichrate allows detecting lower bioaerosol concentrations. It is hoped that this technique will improve our ability to assess exposures to bioaerosols in various air environments.

NIOSH Sub-acute Inhalation Studies with Multi-walled Carbon Nanotubes (MWCNTs) by Vincent Castranova


Title: NIOSH Sub-acute Inhalation Studies with Multi-walled Carbon Nanotubes (MWCNTs)

Speaker: Dr. Vincent Castranova 

Chief, Pathology and Physiology Research Branch, NIOSH, 

CDC Distinguished Consultant, 

Professor, Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences, West Virginia University

Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Pittsburgh

Date: June 24, 2013
Time: 1:30-2:30pm
Place: 665 Huntington Ave, Building 1, Room 1302, Boston, MA 02115

Abstract:Mice were exposed by inhalation to 5 mg/m3 of MWCNT, 5 hours/day, for up to 15 days. Pulmonary responses, MWCNT translocation from the lung, and lung tumor formation were monitored up to 17 months post-exposure. Initial lung burden was approximately 30 ug/lung. MWCNT, deposited in the conducting airways, were cleared within days. However, MWCNT in the respiratory zone exhibited very slow clearance with a half time in the range of 500 days. Inhalation of MWCNT resulted in a rapid inflammatory response which slowly returned toward control over 168 days post-exposure. In addition, collagen within alveolar walls increased with time post-exposure, progressing to a persistent level significantly above control from 84-168 days post-exposure. At 1 days post-exposure, single MWCNT fibers were found in the tracheobronchial lymphatics, the chest wall, diaphragm, and systemic organs. This translocation continued slowly, increasing the number of extra-pulmonary fibers over the 332 day post-exposure period. Tumor formation was evaluated 17 months after inhalation of MWCNT, using an initiation/promotion model. Although MWCNT alone did not induce significant tumors, inhalation of MWCNT substantially increased tumor formation, size, and carcinogenicity after administration of a DNA damaging chemical, methylcholanthrene, indicating that MWCNT act as a potent promoter.  These results will be discussed in relation to the recent NIOSH REL for carbon nanotubes.