Limited inflammatory response in rats after acute exposure to a silicon carbide nanoaerosol

  • J. Laloy
  • O. Lozano
  • L. Alpan
  • B. Masereel
  • O. Toussaint
  • J. M. Dogné
  • S. Lucas
Research Paper


Inhalation represents the major route of human exposure to manufactured nanomaterials (NMs). Assessments are needed about the potential risks of NMs from inhalation on different tissues and organs, especially the respiratory tract. The aim of this limited study is to determine the potential acute pulmonary toxicity in rats exposed to a dry nanoaerosol of silicon carbide (SiC) nanoparticles (NPs) in a whole-body exposure (WBE) model. The SiC nanoaerosol is composed of a bimodal size distribution of 92.8 and 480 nm. The exposure concentration was 4.91 mg/L, close to the highest recommended concentration of 5 mg/L by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Rats were exposed for 6 h to a stable and reproducible SiC nanoaerosol under real-time measurement conditions. A control group was exposed to the filtered air used to create the nanoaerosol. Animals were sacrificed immediately, 24 or 72 h after exposure. The bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from rat lungs was recovered. Macrophages filled with SiC NPs were observed in the rat lungs. The greatest load of SiC and macrophages filled with SiC were observed on the rat lungs sacrificed 24 h after acute exposure. A limited acute inflammatory response was found up to 24 h after exposure characterized by a lactate dehydrogenase and total protein increase or presence of inflammatory cells in pulmonary lavage. For this study a WBE model has been developed, it allows the simultaneous exposure of six rats to a nanoaerosol and six rats to clean-filtered air. The nanoaerosol was generated using a rotating brush system (RBG-1000) and analyzed with an electrical low pressure impactor in real time.


Whole-body exposure Silicon carbide Nanoparticles Lung Rodent Particles-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) Environmental and health effects 



Alanine amino-transferase


Alkaline phosphatases


Accelerated surface area and porosimetry system


Aspartate amino-transferase


Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid


Carbon nanotubes


Energy dispersive X-ray


Electrical low pressure impactor


Field emission gun scanning electron microscope








Particle-induced X-ray emission


Standard deviation


X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy


Whole-body exposure



This work was supported by the Service Public de Wallonie (SPW)—Direction générale opérationnelle-Economie, Emploi et Recherche (DGO6), Département des Programmes de Recherche (Nanotoxico Project, SPW/FUNDP Research Convention N° 516252). O. Toussaint is a Research Associate of the Belgian FNR/FNRS. The authors would like to thank their colleagues Aurélien Nonet, Renaud Vigneron, and Stéphanie Rolin. We would like to express our gratitude to Aline Demortier from Toxicology Labs, Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue for her technical support with another aerosol analyzer.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11051_2015_3138_MOESM1_ESM.tif (123 kb)
(TIF 122 kb)
11051_2015_3138_MOESM2_ESM.tif (259 kb)
(TIF 259 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Laloy
    • 1
  • O. Lozano
    • 2
  • L. Alpan
    • 1
  • B. Masereel
    • 1
  • O. Toussaint
    • 3
  • J. M. Dogné
    • 1
  • S. Lucas
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacy, Namur Nanosafety Centre (NNC), Namur Research Institute for Life Sciences (NARILIS)University of Namur (UNamur)NamurBelgium
  2. 2.Research Centre in Physics of Matter and Radiation (PMR), Namur Nanosafety Centre (NNC), Namur Research Institute for Life Sciences (NARILIS)University of Namur (UNamur)NamurBelgium
  3. 3.Laboratory of Cellular Biochemistry and Biology (URBC), Namur Nanosafety Centre (NNC), Namur Research Institute for Life Sciences (NARILIS)University of Namur (UNamur)NamurBelgium

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