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Oops they did it again! Carbon nanotubes hoax scientists in viability assays
Link to Journal Abstract
New materials of emerging technological importance are single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs). Because SWCNTs will be used in commercial products in huge amounts, their effects on human health and the environment have been addressed in several studies. Inhalation studies in vivo and submerse applications in vitro have been described with diverging results. Why some indicate a strong cytotoxicity and some do not is what we report on here. Data from A549 cells incubated with carbon nanotubes fake a strong cytotoxic effect within the MTT assay after 24 h that reaches roughly 50%, whereas the same treatment with SWCNTs, but detection with WST-1, reveals no cytotoxicity. LDH, FACS-assisted mitochondrial membrane potential determination, and Annexin-V/PI staining also reveal no cytotocicity. SWCNTs appear to interact with some tetrazolium salts such as MTT but not with others (such as WST-1, INT, XTT). This interference does not seem to affect the enzymatic reaction but lies rather in the insoluble nature of MTT-formazan. Our findings strongly suggest verifying cytotoxicity data with at least two or more independent test systems for this new class of materials (nanomaterials). Moreover, we intensely recommend standardizing nanotoxicological assays with regard to the material used: there is a clear need for reference materials. MTT-formazan crystals formed in the MTT reaction are lumped with nanotubes and offer a potential mechanism to guide bioremediation and clearance for SWCNTs from "contaminated" tissue. SWCNTs are good supporting materials for tissue growth, as attachment of focal adhesions and connections to the cytoskeleton suggest.
Peer Reviewed Journal Article
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NANO LETTERS 6 (6): 1261-1268 JUN 2006
Worle-Knirsch JM, Pulskamp K, Krug HF
Last updated on September 25, 2007
This work is supported in part by the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Initiative of the National Science Foundation
under NSF Award Number EEC-0118007.
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