Student Research Award at ISAM 2019 for Hana Barosova from University of Fribourg

The PATROLS project abstract by Hana Barosova was awarded the Student Research prize at ISAM 2019 (International Society for Aerosols in Medicine) in Montreux, Switzerland.

Hana's abstract described the impact of aerosolized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) on human primary lung tissues EpiAlveolarTM (MatTek Corporation, USA) consisting of lung endothelial and alveolar epithelial cells, and fibroblasts. The research, as part of the PATROLS project, in collaboration with PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. and MatTek Corporation, demonstrated the efficacy of EpiAlveolarTM tissues exposed to repeated long-term exposures to MWCNTs at low doses, simulating human occupational exposures, to predict (pro-)inflammatory and (pro-)fibrotic response. This work contributes towards the EU's aim to reduce in vivo experimentation with in vitro and in silico options for nanomaterials safety testing.

The use of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) in commercial products is extensive. Human exposure to MWCNTs can occur throughout their life-cycle via inhalation causing potential adverse effects such as pulmonary fibrosis. Therefore, there is a need to design human-relevant in vitro testing and exposure strategies to assess the biological effects of MWCNTs.
Human-based co-cultures (EpiAlveolarTM, MatTek Corporation) consisting of human primary cells, e.g. lung endothelial and alveolar epithelial cells and fibroblasts, were exposed to aerosolized Mitsui-7 MWCNTs at the air-liquid interface using the VITROCELL© Cloud system. Repeated, low doses exposures were performed every working day (5 days per week) for 3 weeks.
Repeated exposures to transforming growth factor-β, used as a positive control for fibrosis, showed a statistically significant (p<0.05) increase in fibronectin production after 1, 4, 18, and 21 days. Repeated exposures to MWCNTs (range of 1 – 30 µg/cm2) caused statistically significant increase in fibronectin release at days 4, 14, 18, and 21. Other (pro-)fibrotic and (pro-)inflammatory biomarkers are currently being investigated.
The EpiAlveolarTM model is a promising tool for predicting the development of pulmonary fibrosis, however, further investigation with additional fibrotic markers and materials is warranted. In the future, the model can be used in combination with other in vitro and in silico methods for hazard assessment of aerosolized nanomaterials.