Incomplete information on toxicological differences of micro- and nanometer-sized particles raised concerns about the effects of the latter on health and environment. Besides chemical composition, size and surface-to-volume ratio of nanoparticles (NPs) can affect toxicity. To investigate size-dependent toxicity differences, we used particles made of dioxide of the neurotoxic heavy metal manganese (Mn), typically found in inhaled metal fumes, in three size ranges (size A, 9.14 ± 1.98 nm; size B, 42.36 ± 8.06 nm; size C, 118.31 ± 25.37 nm). For modeling the most frequent route of exposure to Mn, NPs were given to rats for 6 weeks by intratracheal instillation. Of each NP size, 3 or 6 mg/kg body weight was given while control animals were vehicle treated. Neurotoxicity was assessed by measuring spontaneous locomotor activity in an open field and by recording spontaneous and evoked electrical activity from the somatosensory cortical area. Mn content of brain, lung, and blood, measured by ICP-MS, were correlated to the observed functional alterations to see the relationship between Mn load and toxic effects. Body weight gain and organ weights were measured as general toxicological indices. The toxicity of size A and size B NPs proved to be stronger compared to size C NPs, seen most clearly in decreased body weight gain and altered spontaneous cortical activity, which were also well correlated to the internal Mn dose. Our results showed strong effect of size on NP toxicity, thus, beyond inappropriateness of toxicity data of micrometer-sized particles in evaluation of NP exposure, differentiation within the nano range may be necessary.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical
- Inorganic Chemistry