Inhalation treatment with nanoparticle containing aerosols appears a promising new therapeutic option but new formulations have to be assessed for efficacy and toxicity. We evaluated the utility of a VITROCELL®6 PT-CF + PARI LC SPRINT® Baby Nebulizer (PARI BOY) system compared with a conventional MicroSprayer. A549 cells were cultured in the air-liquid interface, exposed to nanoparticle aerosols and characterized by measurement of transepithelial electrical resistance and staining for tight junction proteins. Deposition and distribution rates of polystyrene particles and of carbon nanotubes on the cells were assessed. In addition, cytotoxicity of aerosols containing polystyrene particles was compared with cytotoxicity of polystyrene particles in suspension tested in submersed cultures. Exposure by itself in both exposure systems did not damage the cells. Deposition rates of aerosolized polystyrene particles were about 700 times and that of carbon nanotubes about 4 times higher in the MicroSprayer than in the VITROCELL®6 PT-CF system. Cytotoxicity of amine-functionalized polystyrene nanoparticles was significantly higher when applied as an aerosol on cell cultured in air-liquid interface culture compared with nanoparticle suspensions tested in submersed culture. The higher cytotoxicity of aerosolized nanoparticles underscores the importance of relevant exposure systems. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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