Possible effects of multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) on immune and inflammatory responses were examined in mice. Female ICR mice were given a single intraperitoneal administration (2 mg/kg body weight) of either MWCNTs, carbon black (CB), or crocidolite (blue asbestos) and controls received a vehicle of 2% sodium carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC Na). In the peritoneal cavity of MWCNT-administered mice, the liver had changed to a rounded shape and fibrous adhesions were seen on internal organs. Peritoneal cells overexpressed mRNA for genes of T helper (Th)2 cytokines (interleukin [IL]-4, IL-5, and IL-13), Th17 cytokine (IL-17), pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines (IL-1β, IL-33, tumor necrosis factor α, and monocyte chemotactic protein-1), and myeloid differentiation factor 88 for at least 2 weeks after the administration of MWCNTs, while those of Th1 cytokine genes (IL-2 and interferon γ) were overexpressed several weeks later and expression levels remained high up to 20 weeks. In MWCNT-treated mice, the numbers of leukocytes, monocytes, and granulocytes in the peripheral blood and the expression of the leukocyte adhesion molecules, cluster of differentiation (CD)49d and CD54, on granulocytes were increased 1 week after administration and remained high up to week 20. Production of ovalbumin-specific IgM and IgG1 was enhanced by MWCNTs. These changes were not observed after CB or crocidolite administration. Thus, this study showed that MWCNTs exhibited sustained stimulating effects on immune and inflammatory responses, unlike the other mineral fibers with structural similarities.
2012 The Japanese Society of Toxicology