Lung Macrophages “Digest” Carbon Nanotubes Using a Superoxide/Peroxynitrite Oxidative Pathway
American Chemical Society (ACS) -- ACS Nano
DOI 10.1021/nn406484b
  1. single-walled carbon nanotubes
  2. peroxynitrite
  3. biodegradation
  4. lung


In contrast to short-lived neutrophils, macrophages display persistent presence in the lung of animals after pulmonary exposure to carbon nanotubes. While effective in the clearance of bacterial pathogens and injured host cells, the ability of macrophages to “digest” carbonaceous nanoparticles has not been documented. Here, we used chemical, biochemical, and cell and animal models and demonstrated oxidative biodegradation of oxidatively functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes via superoxide/NO* → peroxynitrite-driven oxidative pathways of activated macrophages facilitating clearance of nanoparticles from the lung.