Genomic-level effects of carbon nanotubes

Dimosthenis A. Sarigiannis, Graziella Cimino Reale, Angelo Collotta, Elisa Roda, Paolo Mustarelli, Teresa Coccini, Luigi Manzo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The widespread use of functionalized carbon nanotubes (CNTs) makes the understanding of potential harmful effects highly important. Two cell culture systems, human A549 pneumocytes and HaCaT keratinocytes, were used to assess the modulation of gene expression due to exposure to single and multi-walled CNTs. Moreover, CD-1 male mice were exposed to the CNTs tested by intra-tracheal instillation and lung samples were taken and analyzed after 1 day of exposure. Differentially functionalized CNTs (MW-COOH and MW-NH2) were tested in comparison with pristine multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) and single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs). Toxicogenomic analysis included whole genome micro-array analysis and quantitative PCR using micro-fluidic cards for inflammation genes. Comparison of gene expression between in vitro and in vivo exposure to CNTs revealed differences in the level of biological response induced towards oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis. Differential modulation in gene expression after in vivo exposure was observed as a function of single or multiple wall geometry and presence of specific functional groups. MW-COOH showed a very high degree of up-modulation of the genes coding for chemokine ligands clinically associated with the onset of lung fibrosis in humans. This effect was much less pronounced with MW-NH2 or SWCNT, whereas pristine MWVNT did not show any statistically significant modulation in gene expression. The main biological pathways induced by the tested CNTs were chemokine and cytokine induced inflammation and oxidative stress. This study indicates that CNT functionalization modulates the advent of early biological events affecting their health effects. Thus, it opens the way towards "intelligent" CNT functionalization that aims at reducing or eliminating potential health risks while delivering the added value with regard to applications such as enhanced drug delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIChE Annual Meeting, Conference Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event2012 AIChE Annual Meeting, AIChE 2012 - Pittsburgh, PA, United States
Duration: Oct 28 2012Nov 2 2012


Other2012 AIChE Annual Meeting, AIChE 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPittsburgh, PA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Chemistry(all)


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