Identification of potential biomarkers from gene expression profiles in rat lungs intratracheally instilled with C(60) fullerenes

Toxicology. 2010 Jul-Aug;274(1-3):34-41. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2010.05.004. Epub 2010 May 13.


The use of C(60) fullerenes is expected to increase in various industrial fields. Little is known about the potential toxicological mechanism of action of water-soluble C(60) fullerenes. In our previous research, gene expression profiling of the rat lung was performed after whole-body inhalation exposure to C(60) fullerenes to gain insights into the molecular events. These DNA microarray-based data closely matched the pathological findings that C(60) fullerenes caused no serious adverse pulmonary effects under the inhalation exposure condition. Taking advantage of this, we attempted to characterize time-dependent changes in the gene expression profiles after intratracheal instillation with C(60) fullerenes at different dosages and to identify the candidate expressed genes as potential biomarkers. The hierarchical cluster analysis revealed that the up- or downregulation of genes after intratracheal instillation with 1.0 mg C(60) fullerene particles in rat lung tissue was significantly over-represented in the "response to stimulus" and "response to chemical stimulus" categories of biological processes and in the "extracellular space" category of the cellular component. These results were remarkable for 1 week after the instillation with C(60) fullerenes. In the lung tissues instilled with 1.0 mg C(60) fullerene particles, many representative genes involved in "inflammatory response," such as the Cxcl2, Cxcl6, Orm1, and Spp1 genes, and in "matrix metalloproteinase activity," such as the Mmp7 and Mmp12 genes, were upregulated for over 6 months. The expression levels of 89 and 21 genes were positively correlated with the C(60) fullerene dose at 1 week and 6 months after the instillation, respectively. Most of them were involved in "inflammatory response", and the Ccl17, Ctsk, Cxcl2, Cxcl6, Lcn6, Orm1, Rnase9, Slc26a4, Spp1, Mmp7, and Mmp12 genes were overlapped. Meanwhile, the expression levels of 16 and 4 genes were negatively correlated with the C(60) fullerene dose at 1 week and 6 months after the instillation, respectively. Microarray-based gene expression profiling suggested that the expression of some genes is correlated with the dose of intratracheally instilled C(60) fullerenes. We propose that these genes are useful for identifying potential biomarkers in acute-phase or persistent responses to C(60) fullerenes in the lung tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Chemokine CXCL2
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Down-Regulation
  • Dust
  • Fullerenes / metabolism
  • Fullerenes / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects
  • Inhalation Exposure / analysis
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Up-Regulation


  • Biomarkers
  • CXCL2 protein, human
  • Chemokine CXCL2
  • Dust
  • Fullerenes