Pulmonary challenge with carbon nanoparticles induces a dose-dependent increase in circulating leukocytes in healthy males

Marieke Berger*, Johannes D. de Boer, René Lutter, Michiel Makkee, Peter J. Sterk, Elles M. Kemper, Jaring S. van der Zee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Inhalation of particulate matter, as part of air pollution, is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Nanoparticles (< 100nm) are likely candidates for triggering inflammatory responses and activation of coagulation pathways because of their ability to enter lung cells and pass bronchial mucosa. We tested the hypothesis that bronchial segmental instillation of carbon nanoparticles causes inflammation and activation of coagulation pathways in healthy humans in vivo. Methods: This was an investigator-initiated, randomized controlled, dose-escalation study in 26 healthy males. Participants received saline (control) in one lung segment and saline (placebo) or carbon nanoparticles 10μg, 50μg, or 100μg in the contra-lateral lung. Six hours later, blood and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was collected for inflammation and coagulation parameters. Results: There was a significant dose-dependent increase in blood neutrophils (p=0.046) after challenge with carbon nanoparticles. The individual top-dose of 100μg showed a significant (p=0.05) increase in terms of percentage neutrophils in blood as compared to placebo. Conclusions: This study shows a dose-dependent effect of bronchial segmental challenge with carbon nanoparticles on circulating neutrophils of healthy volunteers. This suggests that nanoparticles in the respiratory tract induce systemic inflammation. Trial registration: Dutch Trial Register no. 2976. 11 July 2011. http://www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=2976

Original languageEnglish
Article number121
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2017


  • Air pollution
  • Bronchial provocation test
  • Bronchoalveolar lavage
  • Coagulation
  • Inflammation
  • Ultrafine particles


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