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Monica Kåredal


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Toxicological effects of zinc oxide nanoparticle exposure: an in vitro comparison between dry aerosol air-liquid interface and submerged exposure systems


  • Karin Lovén
  • Julia Dobric
  • Deniz Bölükbas
  • Monica Kåredal
  • Sinem Tas
  • Jenny Rissler
  • Darcy Wagner
  • Christina Isaxon

Summary, in English

Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are increasingly produced and used today, but health risks due to their occupational airborne exposure are incompletely understood. Traditionally, nanoparticle (NP) toxicity is tested by introducing NPs to cells through suspension in the growth media, but this does not mimic respiratory exposures. Different methods to introduce aerosolized NPs to cells cultured at the air-liquid-interface (ALI) have been developed, but require specialized equipment and are associated with higher cost and time. Therefore, it is important to determine whether aerosolized setups induce different cellular responses to NPs than traditional ones, which could provide new insights into toxicological responses of NP exposure. This study evaluates the response of human alveolar epithelial cells (A549) to zinc oxide (ZnO) NPs after dry aerosol exposure in the Nano Aerosol Chamber for In Vitro Toxicity (NACIVT) system as compared to conventional, suspension-based exposure: cells at ALI or submerged. Similar to other studies using nebulization of ZnO NPs, we found that dry aerosol exposure of ZnO NPs via the NACIVT system induced different cellular responses as compared to conventional methods. ZnO NPs delivered at 1.0 mg/cm2 in the NACIVT system, mimicking occupational exposure, induced significant increases in metabolic activity and release of the cytokines IL-8 and MCP-1, but no
differences were observed using traditional exposures. While factors associated with the method of exposure, such as differing NP aggregation, may contribute toward the different cellular responses observed, our results further encourage the use of more physiologically realistic exposure systems for evaluating airborne ENM toxicity.


  • Ergonomics and Aerosol Technology
  • NanoLund: Center for Nanoscience
  • LUCC: Lund University Cancer Centre
  • StemTherapy: National Initiative on Stem Cells for Regenerative Therapy
  • Lung Bioengineering and Regeneration
  • Genetic Occupational and Environmental Medicine
  • Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University
  • Metalund
  • WCMM-Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine

Publishing year






Document type

Journal article


Informa Healthcare


  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health


  • Air-liquid interface
  • aerosol
  • cell response
  • toxicity



Research group

  • Lung Bioengineering and Regeneration
  • Genetic Occupational and Environmental Medicine


  • ISSN: 1743-5404