Transient oxidative stress and inflammation after intraperitoneal administration of multiwalled carbon nanotubes functionalized with single strand DNA in rats

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Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) are widely used for nanotechnology. Their impact on living organisms is, however, not entirely clarified. Oxidative stress and inflammation seem to be the key mechanisms involved in MWCNTs' cytotoxicity. Until present, pulmonary and skin models were the main tested experimental designs to assess carbon nanotubes' toxicity. The systemic administration of MWCNTs is essential, with respect for future medical applications. Our research is performed on Wistar rats and is focused on the dynamics of oxidative stress parameters in blood and liver and pro-inflammatory cytokines in liver, after single dose (270 mg l−1) ip administration of MWCNTs (exterior diameter 15–25 nm, interior diameter 10–15 nm, surface 88 m2 g−1) functionalized with single strand DNA (ss-DNA). The presence of MWCNTs in blood was assessed by Raman spectroscopy, while in liver histological examination and confocal microscopy were used. It was found that ss-DNA-MWCNTs induce oxidative stress in plasma and liver, with the return of the tested parameters to normal values, 6 h after ip injection of nanotubes, with the exception of reduced glutathione in plasma. The inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β) had a similar pattern of evolution. We also assessed the level of ERK1/2 and the phosphorylation of p65 subunit of NF-kB in liver that had a transient increase and returned to normal at the end of the tested period. Our results demonstrate that ss-DNA-MWCNTs produce oxidative stress and inflammation, but with a transient pattern. Given the fact that antioxidants modify the profile not only for oxidative stress, but also of inflammation, the dynamics of these alterations may be of practical importance for future protective strategies.

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