In Vivo Evaluation of the Pulmonary Toxicity of Cellulose Nanocrystals: A Renewable and Sustainable Nanomaterial of the Future
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In Vivo Evaluation of the Pulmonary Toxicity of Cellulose Nanocrystals: A Renewable and Sustainable Nanomaterial of the Future

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    ACS Sustain Chem Eng
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    The use of cellulose as building blocks for the development of novel functional materials is rapidly growing. Cellulose nanocrystals (CNC), with advantageous chemical and mechanical properties, have gained prominence in a number of applications, such as in nanofillers in polymer composites, building materials, cosmetics, food, and the drug industry. Therefore, it becomes critical to evaluate the potential health effects associated with CNC exposures. The objective of this study was to compare pulmonary outcomes caused by exposure of C57BL/6 mice to two different processed forms of CNC derived from wood, i.e., CNCS (10 wt %; gel/suspension) and CNCP (powder), and compare to asbestos induced responses. Pharyngeal aspiration with CNCS and CNCP was found to facilitate innate inflammatory response assessed by an increase in leukocytes and eosinophils recovered by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). Biomarkers of tissue damage were elevated to a higher extent in mice exposed to CNCP. Compared to CNCP, CNCS caused a significant increase in the accumulation of oxidatively modified proteins. The up-regulation of inflammatory cytokines was higher in the lungs after CNCS treatments. Most importantly, CNCP materials were significantly longer than CNCS. Taken together, our data suggests that particle morphology and nanosize dimensions of CNCs, regardless of the same source, may be critical factors affecting the type of innate immune inflammatory responses. Because various processes have been developed for producing highly sophisticated nanocellulose materials, detailed assessment of specific health outcomes with respect to their physical-structural-chemical properties is highly warranted.
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