Functionalization of Carbon Nanoparticles Modulates Inflammatory Cell Recruitment and NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation

Authors

  • Marie Yang,

    1. Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN), Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
    2. Adjuvant Research Group, School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
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  • Kevin Flavin,

    1. Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN), Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
    2. School of Chemistry, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
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  • Ilona Kopf,

    1. Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN), Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
    2. School of Chemistry, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
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  • Gabor Radics,

    1. Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN), Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
    2. School of Chemistry, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
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  • Claire H. A. Hearnden,

    1. Adjuvant Research Group, School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
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  • Gavin J. McManus,

    1. School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
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  • Barry Moran,

    1. School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
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  • Adrian Villalta-Cerdas,

    1. Department of Chemistry, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, USA
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  • Luis A. Echegoyen,

    1. Department of Chemistry, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, USA
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  • Silvia Giordani,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN), Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
    2. School of Chemistry, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
    Current affiliation:
    1. Italian Institute of Technology, Via Morego 30, 16163 Genova, Italy
    • Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN), Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.

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  • Ed C. Lavelle

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN), Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
    2. Adjuvant Research Group, School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
    • Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN), Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.

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Abstract

The inflammatory effects of carbon nanoparticles (NPs) are highly disputed. Here it is demonstrated that endotoxin-free preparations of raw carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are very limited in their capacity to promote inflammatory responses in vitro, as well as in vivo. Upon purification and selective oxidation of raw CNTs, a higher dispersibility is achieved in physiological solutions, but this process also enhances their inflammatory activity. In synergy with toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands, CNTs promote NLRP3 inflammasome activation and it is shown for the first time that this property extends to spherical carbon nano-onions (CNOs) of 6 nm in size. In contrast, the benzoic acid functionalization of purified CNTs and CNOs leads to significantly attenuated inflammatory properties. This is evidenced by a reduced secretion of the inflammatory cytokine IL-1β, and a pronounced decrease in the recruitment of neutrophils and monocytes following injection into mice. Collectively, these results reveal that the inflammatory properties of carbon NPs are highly dependent on their physicochemical characteristics and crucially, that chemical surface functionalization allows significant moderation of these properties.

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