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La présence de nanotubes de carbone dans l’environnement présente-t-elle un risque pour notre santé ?

Abstract : Carbon nanotubes (CNT) are single or multi-cylindrical graphene structures that possess diameters of a few nanometers, while the length can be up to a few nanometers. These could have unusual toxicological properties, in that they share intermediate morphological characteristics of both fibers and nanoparticles. Due to their interesting mechanical and electrical properties, they are more and more used in various industries and it is thus urgent to assess their potential toxicity. Several studies performed by intratracheal instillation showed that carbon nanotubes (CNT) induced pulmonary fibrosis, granulomas or inflammation. But, recently, two inhalation studies did not observed such pathological phenomena and suggest that granulomas could be due to the instillation of unbreathable agglomerates. In a previous study, we have described a simple method (using albumin as dispersing agent) which produced solutions containing more than 80% of agglomerate of breathable size. We report here results from intratracheal instillation of rats by 0, 1, 10 or 100 µg of multi-walled CNT (MWCNT) dispersed with albumin. After 1, 7, 30, 90, and 180 days, no inflammation, fibrosis and granuloma formation were detected. The respiratory function of animals was also unmodified. Only a dose-dependant apoptosis of alveolar macrophages was noted. These result underline the importance of controlling MWCNT agglomerate size when exposing animals, through appropriate dispersion methods. This study also showed that MWCNT can be eliminated and do not significantly cross the pulmonary barrier but are still present in lungs 6 months after a unique instillation. MWCNT appeared to be cleaved in the lung. Long-time presence of MWCNT in the lung was associated with lung induction of cytochrome P450 1A1 and 2E1 mRNA suggesting a possible role of these enzymes in MWCNT clearance. These results provide the first data of CNT biopersistance and clearance at 6 months after respiratory administration.
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Dan Elgrabli, Ghislaine Lacroix. La présence de nanotubes de carbone dans l’environnement présente-t-elle un risque pour notre santé ?. Rapport Scientifique INERIS, 2008, 2007-2008, pp.50-52. ⟨ineris-01869197⟩

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