Chinese Acad Sci, Inst High Energy Phys, Lab Bioenvironm Hlth Sci Nanoscale Mat, Beijing 100049, Peoples R China
; Peking Univ, Sch Publ Hlth, Dept Environm & Occupat Hlth, Beijing 100083, Peoples R China
; Peking Univ, Coll Chem & Mol Engn, Beijing 100871, Peoples R China
A cytotoxicity test protocol for single-wall nanotubes (SWNTs), multi-wall nanotubes (with diameters ranging from 10 to 20 nm, MWNT10), and fullerene (C-60) was tested. Profound cytotoxicity of SWNTs was observed in alveolar macrophage (AM) after a 6-h exposure in vitro. The cytotoxicity increases by as high as similar to35% when the dosage of SWNTs was increased by 11.30 mug/cm(2). No significant toxicity was observed for C60 up to a dose of 226.00 mug/CM2. The cytotoxicity apparently follows a sequence order on a mass basis: SWNTs > MWNT10 > quartz > C-60. SWNTs significantly impaired phagocytosis of AM at the low dose of 0.38 mug/cm(2), whereas MWNT10 and C60 induced injury only at the high dose of 3.06 mug/cm(2). The macrophages exposed to SWNTs or MWNT10 of 3.06 mug/cm(2) showed characteristic features of necrosis and degeneration. A sign of apoptotic cell death likely existed. Carbon nanomaterials with different geometric structures exhibit quite different cytotoxicity and bioactivity in vitro, although they may not be accurately reflected in the comparative toxicity in vivo.