Author(s): MS. Jo, JK. Kim, Y. Kim, HP. Kim, HS. Kim, K. Ahn, JH. Lee, EM. Faustman, M. Gulumian, B. Kelman, IJ. Yu

Source: Archives of Toxicology, pp.1-12

Abstract: Recently revised OECD inhalation toxicity testing guidelines require measurements of lung burden immediately after and for periods following exposure for nanomaterials. Lung burden is a function of pulmonary deposition and retention of nanoparticles. Using lung burden studies as per OECD guidelines, it may be possible to assess clearance mechanisms of nanoparticles. In this study, male rats were exposed to silver nanoparticle (AgNP) aerosols (18.1–19.6 nm) generated from a spark generator. Exposure groups consisted of (1) control (fresh air), (2) low (31.2 ± 8.5 μg/m3), (3) moderate (81.8 ± 11.4 μg/m3), and (4) high concentrations (115.6 ± 30.5 μg/m3). Rats were exposed for 6-h/day, 5-days/week for 4 weeks (28-days) based on the revised OECD test guideline 412. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluids were collected on post-exposure observation (PEO)-1 and PEO-7 days and analyzed for inflammatory cells and inflammatory biomarkers. The lung burdens of Ag from AgNPs were measured on PEO-1, PEO-7, and PEO-28 days to obtain quantitative mass concentrations per lung. Differential counting of blood cells and inflammatory biomarkers in BAL fluid and histopathological evaluation of lung tissue indicated that exposure to the high concentrations of AgNP aerosol induced inflammation at PEO-1, slowly resolved at PEO-7 and completely resolved at PEO-28 days. Lung burden measurement suggested that Ag from AgNPs was cleared through two different modes; fast and slow clearance. The fast clearance component was concentration-dependent with half-times ranging from two to four days and clearance rates of 0.35–0.17/day−1 from low to high concentrations. The slow clearance had half-times of 100, 57, and 76 days and clearance rates of 0.009, 0.012, and 0.007/day−1 for the high, moderate and low concentration exposure. The exact mechanism of clearance is not known currently. The fast clearance component which was concentration-dependent could be dependent on the dissolution of AgNPs and the slow clearance would be due to slow clearance of the low dissolution AgNPs secondary particles originating from silver ions reacting with biogenic anions. These secondary AgNPs might be cleared by mechanisms other than dissolution such as mucociliary escalation, translocation to the lymphatic system or other organs.

Keywords: Silver nanoparticles; Lung burden; Lung clearance; Subacute inhalation