Background: Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) have potential benefits, but they also present safety concerns for human health. Interlaboratory studies in rodents using standardized protocols are needed to assess ENM toxicity.
Methods: Four laboratories evaluated lung responses in C57BL/6 mice to ENMs delivered by oropharyngeal aspiration (OPA), and three labs evaluated Sprague-Dawley (SD) or Fisher 344 (F344) rats following intratracheal instillation (IT). ENMs tested included three forms of titanium dioxide (TiO2) [anatase/rutile spheres (TiO2-P25), anatase spheres (TiO2-A), and anatase nanobelts (TiO2-NBs)] and three forms of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) [original (O), purified (P), and carboxylic acid "functionalized" (F)]. One day after treatment, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was collected to determine differential cell counts, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and protein. Lungs were fixed for histopathology. Responses were also examined at 7 days (TiO2 forms) and 21 days (MWCNTs) after treatment.
Results: TiO2-A, TiO2-P25, and TiO2-NB caused significant neutrophilia in mice at 1 day in three of four labs. TiO2-NB caused neutrophilia in rats at 1 day in two of three labs, and TiO2-P25 and TiO2-A had no significant effect in any of the labs. Inflammation induced by TiO2 in mice and rats resolved by day 7. All MWCNT types caused neutrophilia at 1 day in three of four mouse labs and in all rat labs. Three of four labs observed similar histopathology to O-MWCNTs and TiO2-NBs in mice.
Conclusions: ENMs produced similar patterns of neutrophilia and pathology in rats and mice. Although interlaboratory variability was found in the degree of neutrophilia caused by the three types of TiO2 nanoparticles, similar findings of relative potency for the three types of MWCNTs were found across all laboratories, thus providing greater confidence in these interlaboratory comparisons.