Changes in cholesterol homeostasis and acute phase response link pulmonary exposure to multi-walled carbon nanotubes to risk of cardiovascular disease

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2015 Mar 15;283(3):210-22. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2015.01.011. Epub 2015 Jan 22.

Abstract

Adverse lung effects following pulmonary exposure to multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) are well documented in rodents. However, systemic effects are less understood. Epidemiological studies have shown increased cardiovascular disease risk after pulmonary exposure to airborne particles, which has led to concerns that inhalation exposure to MWCNTs might pose similar risks. We analyzed parameters related to cardiovascular disease, including plasma acute phase response (APR) proteins and plasma lipids, in female C57BL/6 mice exposed to a single intratracheal instillation of 0, 18, 54 or 162μg/mouse of small, entangled (CNTSmall, 0.8±0.1μm long) or large, thick MWCNTs (CNTLarge, 4±0.4μm long). Liver tissues and plasma were harvested 1, 3 and 28days post-exposure. In addition, global hepatic gene expression, hepatic cholesterol content and liver histology were used to assess hepatic effects. The two MWCNTs induced similar systemic responses despite their different physicochemical properties. APR proteins SAA3 and haptoglobin, plasma total cholesterol and low-density/very low-density lipoprotein were significantly increased following exposure to either MWCNTs. Plasma SAA3 levels correlated strongly with pulmonary Saa3 levels. Analysis of global gene expression revealed perturbation of the same biological processes and pathways in liver, including the HMG-CoA reductase pathway. Both MWCNTs induced similar histological hepatic changes, with a tendency towards greater response following CNTLarge exposure. Overall, we show that pulmonary exposure to two different MWCNTs induces similar systemic and hepatic responses, including changes in plasma APR, lipid composition, hepatic gene expression and liver morphology. The results link pulmonary exposure to MWCNTs with risk of cardiovascular disease.

Keywords: Acute phase response; Atherosclerosis; Histology; Liver; Nanotoxicology; Toxicogenomics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Proteins / genetics
  • Acute-Phase Proteins / metabolism*
  • Acute-Phase Reaction / blood
  • Acute-Phase Reaction / chemically induced*
  • Acute-Phase Reaction / genetics
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / genetics
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Homeostasis
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nanotubes, Carbon / toxicity*
  • Particle Size
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Risk Assessment
  • Time Factors

Substances

  • Acute-Phase Proteins
  • Biomarkers
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Nanotubes, Carbon
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Cholesterol