Background: Constituted only by carbon atoms, CNT are hydrophobic and hardly detectable in biological tissues. These properties make biokinetics and toxicology studies more complex.
Methods: We propose here a method to investigate the biopersistence of CNT in organism, based on detection of nickel, a metal present in the MWCNT we investigated.
Results and conclusion: Our results in rats that received MWCNT by intratracheal instillation, reveal 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 structure was also showed to be chemically modified and cleaved in the lung. These results provide the first data of CNT biopersistence and clearance at 6 months after respiratory administration.