NIH Research Festival
Commercialization of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT)-based applications has been hampered by concerns regarding their lung toxicity potential. Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is a ubiquitously found polysaccharide, which is anti-inflammatory in its native high molecular weight form. HA-functionalized smart MWCNTs have shown promise as tumor- targeting drug delivery agents and can enhance bone repair and regeneration. However, it’s unclear whether HA functionalization could reduce the pulmonary toxicity potential of MWCNTs. Using in vivo and in vitro approaches, we investigated the effectiveness of MWCNT functionalization with HA in increasing nanotube biocompatibility and reducing lung inflammatory and fibrotic effects. We utilized 3-dimensional cultures of differentiated primary human bronchial epithelia to translate findings from rodent assays to humans. We found that HA functionalization increased stability and dispersion of MWCNTs and reduced post-exposure lung inflammation, fibrosis and mucus cell metaplasia compared with non-functionalized MWCNTs. Co-cultures of fully differentiated bronchial epithelial cells (cultivated at air-liquid interface) and human lung fibroblasts (submerged) displayed significant reduction in injury, oxidative stress, as well as pro-inflammatory gene and protein expression after exposure to HA-functionalized MWCNTs compared with MWCNTs alone. In contrast, neither type of nanotubes stimulated cytokine production in primary human alveolar macrophages. In aggregate, our results demonstrate the effectiveness of HA functionalization as a safer design approach to eliminate MWCNT-induced lung injury and suggest that HA functionalization works by reducing MWCNT-induced epithelial injury.
Scientific Focus Area: Chemical Biology
This page was last updated on Friday, March 26, 2021