2017 Volume 39 Issue 2 Pages 123-132
Inhalation tests are the gold standard test for the estimation of the pulmonary toxicity of respirable materials. Intratracheal instillation tests have been used widely, but they yield limited evidence of the harmful effects of respirable materials. We reviewed the effectiveness of intratracheal instillation tests for estimating the hazards of nanomaterials, mainly using research papers featuring intratracheal instillation and inhalation tests centered on a Japanese national project. Compared to inhalation tests, intratracheal instillation tests induced more acute inflammatory responses in the animal lung due to a bolus effect regardless of the toxicity of the nanomaterials. However, nanomaterials with high toxicity induced persistent inflammation in the chronic phase, and nanomaterials with low toxicity induced only transient inflammation. Therefore, in order to estimate the harmful effects of a nanomaterial, an observation period of 3 months or 6 months following intratracheal instillation is necessary. Among the endpoints of pulmonary toxicity, cell count and percentage of neutrophil, chemokines for neutrophils and macrophages, and oxidative stress markers are considered most important. These markers show persistent and transient responses in the lung from nanomaterials with high and low toxicity, respectively. If the evaluation of the pulmonary toxicity of nanomaterials is performed in not only the acute but also the chronic phase in order to avoid the bolus effect of intratracheal instillation and inflammatory-related factors that are used as endpoints of pulmonary toxicity, we speculate that intratracheal instillation tests can be useful for screening for the identification of the hazard of nanomaterials through pulmonary inflammation.