Acid-functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes alter epithelial tight junctions and enhance paracellular permeability

Abstract

Due to their unique properties, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are being widely explored for industrial and medical applications. This has necessitated a thorough assessment of the effect of CNTs on human and animal physiology and health. Impact of CNTs on epithelial tight junctions has not been evaluated in the context of their toxic effects in many biological systems. In the present study, we examined the effect of acid functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes (AF-SWCNTs) on the function and expression of two tight junction proteins (ZO-1 and occludin) in the Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cell line. Treatment of MDCK cells with AF-SWCNT resulted in a downregulation of tight junction proteins, decreased trans-epithelial electrical resistance (TER), increased paracellular permeability, and disruption of tight junctions. Taken together, our data demonstrate that AF-SWCNT disrupts tight junction barrier by downregulating tight junction proteins in MDCK epithelial cells.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by research grants from Department of Science and Technology, India, Nano-sciences Mission grant number SR/NM/NS-1219 and JC Bose award to RKS. MBM receives a Ph.D. fellowship from South Asian University and APS worked as a SRF in RKS laboratory. Authors like to thank Dr. Sapna Sharma, School of Biotechnology, Jawaharlal Nehru University, for providing MDCK cell line and her valuable expert advice.

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Correspondence to Rajiv K Saxena.

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Corresponding editor: Sorab Dalal

Communicated by Sorab Dalal.

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Singh, A.P., Mia, M.B. & Saxena, R.K. Acid-functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes alter epithelial tight junctions and enhance paracellular permeability. J Biosci 45, 23 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12038-020-9989-9

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Keywords

  • Carbon nanotubes
  • MDCK
  • paracellular permeability
  • tight junctions
  • transepithelial electrical resistance
  • ZO-1