Individual and combined toxicity of carboxylic acid functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes and benzo a pyrene in lung adenocarcinoma cells

  • Mansour Rezazadeh Azari
  • Yousef MohammadianEmail author
  • Jalal Pourahmad
  • Fariba Khodagholi
  • Habibollah Peirovi
  • Yadollah Mehrabi
  • Meisam Omidi
  • Athena Rafieepour
Research Article


Co-exposure to carboxylic acid functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (F-MWCNTs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) such as benzo a pyrene (BaP) in ambient air have been reported. Adsorption of BaP to F-MWCNTs can influence combined toxicity. Studying individual toxicity of F-MWCNTs and BaP might give unrealistic data. Limited information is available on the combined toxicity of F-MWCNTs and BaP in human cells. The objective of the present work is to evaluate the toxicity of F-MWCNTs and BaP individually and combined in human lung adenocarcinoma (A549 cells). The in vitro toxicity is evaluated through cell viability, the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), apoptosis, and the production of 8-OHdG assays. Adsorption of BaP to F-MWCNTs was confirmed using a spectrophotometer. The results indicated that the F-MWCNTs and BaP reduce cell viability individually and produce ROS, apoptosis, and 8-OHdG in exposed cells. Stress oxidative is found to be a mechanism of cytotoxicity for both F-MWCNTs and BaP. Combined exposure to F-MWCNTs and BaP decreases cytotoxicity compared to individual exposure, but the difference is not statistically significant in all toxicity assays; hence, the two-factorial analysis indicated an additive toxic interaction. Adsorption of BaP to F-MWCNTs could mitigate the bioavailability and toxicity of BaP in biological systems. Considering the mixture toxicity of MWCNTs and BaP is required for risk assessment of ambient air contaminants.


Functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes Benzo a pyrene Combined toxicity A549 cells 



The present study was carried out as partial fulfillment of a Ph.D. thesis at the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, and authors thank the School of Public Health and safety of the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences for their moral support. We would also like to express our gratitude to Professor Motamedi and Professor Ahmadiani from the Neuroscience Research Center of Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences for their cooperation with this project.

Funding information

The present study was financially supported by the School of Public Health of the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mansour Rezazadeh Azari
    • 1
  • Yousef Mohammadian
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jalal Pourahmad
    • 3
  • Fariba Khodagholi
    • 4
  • Habibollah Peirovi
    • 5
  • Yadollah Mehrabi
    • 1
  • Meisam Omidi
    • 6
  • Athena Rafieepour
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public Health and SafetyShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Occupational Health Engineering, Faculty of HealthTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran
  3. 3.Department of Toxicology, Faculty of PharmacyShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  4. 4.Neuroscience Research CenterShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  5. 5.Medical Nanotechnology and Tissue Engineering Research CenterShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  6. 6.Department of Tissue Engineering and Applied Cell Sciences, School of Advanced Technologies in MedicineShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran

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