In this study, we have evaluated the pulmonary toxicity of MgO nanoparticles (MgO NPs) in rats following their exposure. NPs in phosphate buffered saline + 1% Tween 80 were exposed via intratracheal instillation at a doses of 1 mg/kg or 5 mg/kg into rat lungs and evaluated for various tissue damage markers like alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and histopathology of lungs at 1, 7, and 30 days of post-exposure intervals. A dose-dependant increase in ALP and LDH activity was observed in BAL fluids of rat lungs than sham control at all post-exposure periods (P <0.05), and a dose-dependant infiltration of interstitial lymphocytes, peribronchiolar lymphocytic infiltration, and dilated and/or congested vessels at 1 day post-exposure period, worsened at 1 week period, and were reduced at 1 month at histology, indicating the pulmonary toxicity of MgO NPs. In conclusion, MgO NPs exposure produced a dose-dependent pulmonary toxicity in rats and was comparable with that of Quartz particles. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 30: 308–314, 2015.