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Toxicity of Tungsten Carbide and Cobalt-doped Tungsten Carbide Nanoparticles in Mammalian Cells In Vitro

Bastian, Susanne and Busch, Wibke and Springer, Armin and Meißner, Tobias and Holke, Roland and Scholz, Stefan and Iwe, Maria and Pompe, Wolfgang and Gelinsky, Michael and Potthof, Annegret and Richter, Volkmar and Ikonomidou, Hrissanthi and Schirmer, Kristin (2008) Toxicity of Tungsten Carbide and Cobalt-doped Tungsten Carbide Nanoparticles in Mammalian Cells In Vitro. Environmental Health Perspectives . (Submitted)

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Abstract BACKGROUND: Tungsten carbide nanoparticles are being explored for their use in the manufacturing process of hard metals. In order to develop and broadly apply nanoparticles, potential risks to human health and the environment ought to be evaluated and taken into consideration. OBJECTIVE: On this background, we aimed to assess the toxicity of well characterized tungsten carbide and cobalt-doped tungsten carbide nanoparticle suspensions to an array of mammalian cells. METHODS: We examined acute toxicity of tungsten carbide and of cobalt-doped (10 % weight content) tungsten carbide nanoparticles in different human cell lines (lung, skin and colon) as well as rat neuronal and glial cells, i.e. primary neuronal and astroglial cultures and the oligodendrocyte precursor cell line OLN-93. Furthermore, using electron microscopy, we assessed whether nanoparticles can be taken up by living cells. The in vitro systems were chosen in order to evaluate for potential toxicity of the nanoparticles in different mammalian organs, namely lung, skin, intestine and brain. RESULTS: Chemical-physical characterization confirmed that tungsten carbide (WC) as well as cobalt-doped tungsten carbide (WC-Co) nanoparticles form stable suspensions in serum-containing cell culture media with a mean particle size of 145 nm. Tungsten carbide nanoparticles were not acutely toxic to the studied cell lines. However, cytotoxicity became apparent when particles were doped with cobalt. The most sensitive were astrocytes and colon epithelial cells. Cytotoxicity of tungsten carbide cobalt nanoparticles was higher than expected based on the ionic cobalt content of the particles. Analysis by electron microscopy demonstrated presence of tungsten carbide nanoparticles within mammalian cells. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that doping of tungsten carbide nanoparticles with cobalt markedly increases their cytotoxic effect and that the presence of tungsten carbide cobalt in particulate form is essential to elicit this combinatorial effect.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This research was supported by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) within the INOS project (Identifizierung und Bewertung von Gesundheits- und Umweltauswirkungen von technischen nanoskaligen Partikeln; grant # 03X0013C).
Uncontrolled Keywords:cellular uptake, cobalt-doping, cobalt salt, human cell cultures, in vitro, nanoparticle behaviour, toxicity, tungsten carbide nanoparticles
Subjects:NanoSafety > Environment, health and safety aspects of nanotechnology
ID Code:2790
Deposited By:Lesley Tobin
Deposited On:09 Jan 2009 11:11
Last Modified:09 Jan 2009 11:11

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