Li-ion batteries (LIB) are increasingly used worldwide. They are made of low solubility micrometric particles, implying a potential for inhalation toxicity in occupational settings and possibly for consumers. LiCoO2 (LCO), one of the most used cathode material, induces inflammatory and fibrotic lung responses in mice. LCO also stabilizes hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) -1α, a factor implicated in inflammation, fibrosis and carcinogenicity. Here, we investigated the role of cobalt, nickel and HIF-1α as determinants of toxicity, and evaluated their predictive value for the lung toxicity of LIB particles in in vitro assays.
By testing a set of 5 selected LIB particles (LCO, LiNiMnCoO2, LiNiCoAlO2) with different cobalt and nickel contents, we found a positive correlation between their in vivo lung inflammatory activity, and (i) Co and Ni particle content and their bioaccessibility and (ii) the stabilization of HIF-1α in the lung. Inhibition of HIF-1α with chetomin or PX-478 blunted the lung inflammatory response to LCO in mice. In IL-1β deficient mice, HIF-1α was the upstream signal of the inflammatory lung response to LCO. In vitro, the level of HIF-1α stabilization induced by LIB particles in BEAS-2B cells correlated with the intensity of lung inflammation induced by the same particles in vivo.
We conclude that HIF-1α, stabilized in lung cells by released Co and Ni ions, is a mechanism-based biomarker of lung inflammatory responses induced by LIB particles containing Co/Ni. Documenting the Co/Ni content of LIB particles, their bioaccessibility and their capacity to stabilize HIF-1α in vitro can be used to predict the lung inflammatory potential of LIB particles.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Particle and Fibre Toxicology|
|Publication status||Published - 18 Sep 2019|
Technological Platform Synthesis, Irradiation and Analysis of Materials
Facility/equipment: Technological Platform