Letter abstract

Nature Nanotechnology 3, 216 - 221 (2008)
Published online: 30 March 2008 | doi:10.1038/nnano.2008.68

Subject Categories: Carbon nanotubes and fullerenes | Nanomedicine

A pilot toxicology study of single-walled carbon nanotubes in a small sample of mice

Meike L. Schipper1, Nozomi Nakayama-Ratchford2, Corrine R. Davis3, Nadine Wong Shi Kam2, Pauline Chu3, Zhuang Liu2, Xiaoming Sun2, Hongjie Dai2 & Sanjiv S. Gambhir1

Single-walled carbon nanotubes are currently under evaluation in biomedical applications, including in vivo delivery1, 2, 3 of drugs4, proteins, peptides5, 6, 7 and nucleic acids8, 9 (for gene transfer10 or gene silencing11), in vivo tumour imaging12 and tumour targeting of single-walled carbon nanotubes as an anti-neoplastic treatment5. However, concerns about the potential toxicity of single-walled carbon nanotubes have been raised13, 14. Here we examine the acute and chronic toxicity of functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes when injected into the bloodstream of mice. Survival, clinical and laboratory parameters reveal no evidence of toxicity over 4 months. Upon killing, careful necropsy and tissue histology show age-related changes only. Histology and Raman microscopic mapping demonstrate that functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes persisted within liver and spleen macrophages for 4 months without apparent toxicity. Although this is a preliminary study with a small group of animals, our results encourage further confirmation studies with larger groups of animals.

  1. Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS), Department of Radiology and Bio-X Program, Palo Alto, California 94305-5427, USA
  2. Department of Chemistry, Palo Alto, California 94305-5427, USA
  3. Department of Comparative Medicine, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California 94305-5427, USA

Correspondence to: Sanjiv S. Gambhir1 e-mail: sgambhir@stanford.edu


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