Nanotechnology is rapidly developing, resulting in the production of a variety of engineered nanoparticles. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) represent an important family of nanoparticles because they have many potential uses in engineering, electronics, and medicine due to their ease of functionalization, unusual strength, and electrical conductivity. However, these novel nanostructures also represent a potential human health risk, due to the possibility of inhalation exposure and evidence that the lung and cardiovascular systems are targets for hazardous effects. Inhalation studies in rodents show that CNTs deposit within the distal regions in the lungs and migrate to the pleura to cause inflammatory and/or fibrotic effects. Presentations in this session are aimed at elucidating the pulmonary and cardiovascular effects of CNTs, and how an increasing variety of functionalized CNTs can be evaluated via high-content screening. Because functionalized CNTs vary in toxicological activity, we will address high-content screening for the development of structure-activity relationships relevant to inhalation toxicity and safer design of nanoparticles. This will include exploration of factors that mediate toxic effects such as high aspect ratio, durability, and residual metal content and discuss how removing metal catalysts or changing surface properties alters the pattern and timing of toxicity. While the lung is a major target organ, another goal is to determine the potential for inhaled CNTs to have toxic effects that reach beyond the lung to influence the cardiovascular system. Finally, we will discuss how susceptibility factors, both genetic and environmental, determine pulmonary and cardiovascular toxicity to CNTs. The outcome of this session is to gain a better understanding of the structure- activity relationships, target organs, and susceptibility factors that will aid the development of predictive toxicology paradigms for understanding CNT toxicity.
The Toxicologist. Society of Toxicology 52nd Annual Meeting and ToxExpo, March 10-14, 2013, San Antonio, Texas