Limited inflammatory response in rats after acute exposure to a silicon carbide nanoaerosol

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Inhalation represents the major route of human exposure to manufactured nanomaterials (NMs). Assessments are needed about the potential risks of NMs from inhalation on different tissues and organs, especially the respiratory tract. The aim of this limited study is to determine the potential acute pulmonary toxicity in rats exposed to a dry nanoaerosol of silicon carbide (SiC) nanoparticles (NPs) in a whole-body exposure (WBE) model. The SiC nanoaerosol is composed of a bimodal size distribution of 92.8 and 480 nm. The exposure concentration was 4.91 mg/L, close to the highest recommended concentration of 5 mg/L by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Rats were exposed for 6 h to a stable and reproducible SiC nanoaerosol under real-time measurement conditions. A control group was exposed to the filtered air used to create the nanoaerosol. Animals were sacrificed immediately, 24 or 72 h after exposure. The bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from rat lungs was recovered. Macrophages filled with SiC NPs were observed in the rat lungs. The greatest load of SiC and macrophages filled with SiC were observed on the rat lungs sacrificed 24 h after acute exposure. A limited acute inflammatory response was found up to 24 h after exposure characterized by a lactate dehydrogenase and total protein increase or presence of inflammatory cells in pulmonary lavage. For this study a WBE model has been developed, it allows the simultaneous exposure of six rats to a nanoaerosol and six rats to clean-filtered air. The nanoaerosol was generated using a rotating brush system (RBG-1000) and analyzed with an electrical low pressure impactor in real time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number346
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2015


  • Environmental and health effects
  • Lung
  • Nanoparticles
  • Particles-induced X-ray emission (PIXE)
  • Rodent
  • Silicon carbide
  • Whole-body exposure


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