Multi-walled carbon nanotubes: A cytotoxicity study in relation to functionalization, dose and dispersion

Lulu Zhou, Henry Jay Forman, Yi Ge, Joseph Lunec

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Chemical functionalization broadens carbon nanotube (CNT) applications, conferring new functions, but at the same time potentially altering toxicity. Although considerable experimental data related to CNT toxicity, at the molecular and cellular levels, have been reported, there is very limited information available for the corresponding mechanism involved (e.g. cell apoptosis and genotoxicity). The threshold dose for safe medical application in relation to both pristine and functionalized carbon nanotubes remains ambiguous. In this study, we evaluated the in vitro cytotoxicity of pristine and functionalized (OH, COOH) multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) for cell viability, oxidant detection, apoptosis and DNA mutations, to determine the non-toxic dose and influence of functional group in a human lung-cancer cell line exposed to 1-1000μg/ml MWCNTs for 24, 48 and 72h. The findings suggest that pristine MWCNTs induced more cell death than functionalized MWCNTs while functionalized MWCNTs are more genotoxic compared to their pristine form. The level of both dose and dispersion in the matrix used should be taken into consideration before applying further clinical applications of MWCNTs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-298
JournalToxicology in Vitro
Early online date05 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • Journal Article


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