Comparison of proinflammatory potential of needle-shaped materials: aragonite and potassium titanate whisker

  • Masanori HorieEmail author
  • Yosuke Tabei
  • Sakiko Sugino
  • Kenichiro Eguchi
  • Ryo Chiba
  • Masahiko Tajika
Inorganic Compounds


Among the crystal forms of calcium carbonate, aragonite has needle-like shape. Although materials with needle-shaped crystals are associated with pulmonary toxicity, the toxic activity of aragonite is unclear. Therefore, proinflammatory potential of aragonite, neutralized aragonite and potassium titanate whisker was evaluated. The cellular effects of aragonite were weaker than those of potassium titanate whisker. Aragonite treatment induced the expression of chemokines in A549 cells and macrophages. Although aragonite exhibited proinflammatory effects in vitro, pulmonary inflammation was not observed in vivo after intratracheal administration of aragonite in mice. We did not observe the induction of inflammatory cytokine secretion or tissue lesion in the lungs of mice after administration of aragonite. Potassium titanate whisker treatment induced chemokine secretion in vitro. An increase in the number of neutrophils was observed in the mice lung tissue after administration of potassium titanate whisker. Aragonite and neutralized aragonite both induced an increase in the levels of intracellular calcium, but the levels were significantly higher in cells treated with aragonite than in cells treated with neutralized aragonite. These results suggested that intracellular calcium release mediates the cellular effects of aragonite. The toxicity of aragonite based on its needle-like structure was also not observed.


Aragonite Potassium titanate whisker Inflammation Interleukin-8 Pulmonary toxicity 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)TakamatsuJapan
  2. 2.Shiraishi Central Laboratories Co., Ltd.AmagasakiJapan

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