Intraperitoneal administration of tangled multiwalled carbon nanotubes of 15 nm in diameter does not induce mesothelial carcinogenesis in rats


  • Conflict of interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Shinya Toyokuni, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology and Biological Responses, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, 65 Tsurumai-cho, Showa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi 466-8550, Japan. Email:


Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) have attracted public attention not only for their potential applications in engineering and materials science but also for possible environmental risks. MWCNTs share similar properties with asbestos, a definite human carcinogen causing malignant mesothelioma (MM), in that they are both biopersistent thin fibers with a high aspect ratio. Certain types of MWCNTs do induce MM in animal experiments. Though there are many different types of MWCNTs awaiting use in industry, there is little evidence about what types of MWCNTs present a high risk for MM in vivo. We have previously shown that the diameter of MWCNTs is one of the critical factors for mesothelial injury, which eventually leads to MM. Because of the extensive commercial use of MWCNTs, the properties of MWCNTs that determine carcinogenic activity should be clarified. Here we report that a high dose (10 mg) of a tangled form of pristine MWCNT (with a diameter of 15 nm) did not induce MM after intraperitoneal administration in rats, which were followed for up to 3 years after injection. This observation strengthens our previous finding that the rigidity, diameter, length and surface properties of MWCNTs are important factors in MM induction in vivo.