The adverse vascular effects of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) to human vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) in vitro: role of length of MWCNTs.J Nanobiotechnology. 2017 Nov 10; 15(1):80.JN
Increasing evidences indicate that exposure to multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) could induce adverse vascular effects, but the role of length of MWCNTs in determining the toxic effects is less studied. This study investigated the adverse effects of two well-characterized MWCNTs to human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs).
The internalization and localization of MWCNTs in HUVECs were examined by using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The cytotoxicity of MWCNTs to HUVECs was assessed by water soluble tetrazolium-8 (WST-8), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and neutral red uptake assays. Oxidative stress was indicated by the measurement of intracellular glutathione (GSH) and reactive oxygen species (ROS). ELISA was used to determine the release of inflammatory cytokines. THP-1 monocyte adhesion to HUVECs was also measured. To indicate the activation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, the expression of ddit3 and xbp-1s was measured by RT-PCR, and BiP protein level was measured by Western blot.
Transmission electron microscopy observation indicates the internalization of MWCNTs into HUVECs, with a localization in nuclei and mitochondria. The longer MWCNTs induced a higher level of cytotoxicity to HUVECs compared with the shorter ones. Neither of MWCNTs significantly promoted intracellular ROS, but the longer MWCNTs caused a higher depletion of GSH. Exposure to both types of MWCNTs significantly promoted THP-1 adhesion to HUVECs, accompanying with a significant increase of release of interleukin-6 (IL-6) but not tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), soluble ICAM-1 (sICAM-1) or soluble VCAM-1 (sVCAM-1). Moreover, THP-1 adhesion and release of IL-6 and sVCAM-1 induced by the longer MWCNTs were significantly higher compared with the responses induced by the shorter ones. The biomarker of ER stress, ddit3 expression, but not xbp-1s expression or BiP protein level, was significantly induced by the exposure of longer MWCNTs.
Combined, these results indicated length dependent toxic effects of MWCNTs to HUVECs in vitro, which might be associated with oxidative stress and activation of ER stress.