In vivo toxicity and pharmacology of carbon nanotubes: Pristine vs. functionalized


Lara Lacerda,, Ravi Singh, and Kostas Kostarelos, Centre for Drug Delivery Research, The School of Pharmacy, University of London, 29-39 Brunswick Square, London, WC1N 1AX, United Kingdom
Carbon nanotubes (CNT) are explored as novel nanomaterials for biomedical applications. It is imperative to determine critical in vivo parameters before any clinical application of CNT, namely their toxicological and pharmacological profiles. Functionalized carbon nanotubes (f-CNT) have short alkyl chains with terminal ammonium groups covalently attached on the carbon backbone sidewalls, while pristine CNT (pCNT) do not hold any surface modification. In order to elucidate the in vivo effects of pristine and functionalized CNT, therapeutically relevant doses of both were administered intravenously to female balb/c mice. Histological examination and gross observation of major organs were monitored and the extend of nanotube accumulation and damage in different tissues was evaluated. Significant differences were found between the liver and spleen tissues of mice injected with pCNT or f-CNT with the pristine nanotubes always exhibiting significant accumulation and tissue morbidity.