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Open AccessArticle

Toxicological Assessment of ITER-Like Tungsten Nanoparticles Using an In Vitro 3D Human Airway Epithelium Model

CEA, SCBM, Université Paris Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Aix Marseille Univ, Avignon Université, CNRS, IRD, IMBE, 13005 Marseille, France
CEA, IRFM, F-13108 Saint Paul lez Durance, France
CNRS, Aix Marseille Univ, IRD, INRA, Coll France, CEREGE, 13545, Aix en Provence, France
Université Paris 13, Sorbonne Paris Cité; Laboratoire des Sciences des Procédés et des Matériaux, UPR 3407-CNRS, 99 avenue J.-B. Clément 93430 Villetaneuse, France
Université de Lyon, CNRS, Université Claude Bernard Lyon I, Institute of Analytical Sciences (ISA), UMR 5280, 5, rue de la Doua, 69100 Villeurbanne, France
NIMBE, IRAMIS, Université Paris Saclay, 91191 Gif sur Yvette CEDEX, France
Aix Marseille Univ, CEA, CNRS, BIAM, UMR7265, EIPM, F-13108 Saint Paul-Lez-Durance, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors equally contributed to this work.
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(10), 1374;
Received: 6 August 2019 / Revised: 11 September 2019 / Accepted: 18 September 2019 / Published: 25 September 2019
The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is an international project aimed at the production of carbon-free energy through the use of thermonuclear fusion. During ITER operation, in case of a loss-of-vacuum-accident, tungsten nanoparticles (W-NPs) could potentially be released into the environment and induce occupational exposure via inhalation. W-NPs toxicity was evaluated on MucilAir™, a 3D in vitro cell model of the human airway epithelium. MucilAir™ was exposed for 24 h to metallic ITER-like milled W-NPs, tungstate (WO42−) and tungsten carbide cobalt particles alloy (WC-Co). Cytotoxicity and its reversibility were assessed using a kinetic mode up to 28 days after exposure. Epithelial tightness, metabolic activity and interleukin-8 release were also evaluated. Electron microscopy was performed to determine any morphological modification, while mass spectrometry allowed the quantification of W-NPs internalization and of W transfer through the MucilAir™. Our results underlined a decrease in barrier integrity, no effect on metabolic activity or cell viability and a transient increase in IL-8 secretion after exposure to ITER-like milled W-NPs. These effects were associated with W-transfer through the epithelium, but not with intracellular accumulation. We have shown that, under our experimental conditions, ITER-like milled W-NPs have a minor impact on the MucilAir™ in vitro model. View Full-Text
Keywords: nanoparticles; tungsten; lung; MucilAir™; acute toxicity nanoparticles; tungsten; lung; MucilAir™; acute toxicity
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George, I.; Uboldi, C.; Bernard, E.; Sobrido, M.S.; Dine, S.; Hagège, A.; Vrel, D.; Herlin, N.; Rose, J.; Orsière, T.; Grisolia, C.; Rousseau, B.; Malard, V. Toxicological Assessment of ITER-Like Tungsten Nanoparticles Using an In Vitro 3D Human Airway Epithelium Model. Nanomaterials 2019, 9, 1374.

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