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Nuclear Translocation of Nrf2 and Expression of Antioxidant Defence Genes in THP-1 Cells Exposed to Carbon Nanotubes

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Carbon nanotubes have a wide range of applications in various industries and their use is likely to rise in the future. Currently, a major concern is that with the increasing use and production of these materials, there may be increased health risks to exposed workers. Long (> 15 m) straight nanotubes may undergo frustrated phagocytosis which is likely to result in reduced clearance. We examine here the effects of multiwalled carbon nanotubes of different sizes on monocytic THP-1 cells, with regard to their ability to stimulate increased expression of the HO-1 and GST genes and their ability to produce nuclear translocation of the transcription factor, Nrf2, as well as the release of several pro-inflammatory cytokines and mediators of inflammation. Our results suggest that long (50 m) carbon nanotubes (62.5 g/ml for 4 hours) produce increased nuclear translocation of Nrf2 and increased HO-1 gene expression compared with shorter entangled nanotubes. There was no increased gene expression for GST. The long nanotubes (NT1) caused increased release of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1, an effect which was diminished by the antioxidant trolox, suggesting a role of oxidative stress in the upregulation of this cytokine. Tentatively, our study suggests that long carbon nanotubes may exert their effect in THP-1 cells in part via an oxidative stress mechanism.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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  • Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology (JBN) is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal providing broad coverage in all research areas focused on the applications of nanotechnology in medicine, drug delivery systems, infectious disease, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, and all other related fields of life sciences.
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