The researchers were able to identify the biological processes from exposure to three types of nanomaterials and how it contributes to disease. Nikota et al., (2016) examined toxicity studies describing the lung responses of mice following exposure to carbon nanotubes, carbon black and titanium dioxide nanoparticles. Published this week in the open access journal Particle and Fibre Toxicology, the authors compared the mRNA profiles following nanomaterial exposure to the profiles of various models of lung injury in mice (e.g. TNF alpha, lipopolysaccharide, bacterial infection, etc.), to identify key event pathways leading to adverse health outcomes.
The study highlights how this type of in vivo transcriptomic profiling might be used in a tiered strategy to screen nanomaterials for their probability of inducing lung damage if inhaled. In a meta-analysis of genes with significant changes in expression, the authors found two clusters: CNT response was found to cluster with bleomycin injury and bacterial infection models, both of which can lead to lung fibrosis, irrespective of CNT functionalization. In contrast, titanium dioxide clustered separately from CNTs and the disease models examined. The article is open access and is available here.