Size-dependent clearance of gold nanoparticles from lungs of Sprague–Dawley rats after short-term inhalation exposure
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Gold nanoparticles are known to be distributed to many tissues following their oral, inhalation, or intravenous exposure. Information on the biodistribution and clearance of gold nanoparticles from these tissues is, therefore, important to understand their behavior in vivo. To study the effect of size on the biodistribution of gold nanoparticles, Sprague–Dawley rats were exposed by inhalation to small gold nanoparticles (13 nm in diameter on average) at an exposure concentration of 12.8 ± 2.42 µg/m3, and to large gold nanoparticles (105 nm in diameter on average) at an exposure concentration of 13.7 ± 1.32 µg/m3. The experimental animals were exposed to the gold nanoparticles and the control animals to fresh air for 5 days (6 h/day), followed by a recovery period of 1, 3, and 28 days in fresh air. None of the exposed animals exhibited any toxic response to the gold nanoparticles. Despite the difference in size, both small and large gold nanoparticles deposited mainly in rat lungs. Their biodistribution from the lungs to secondary target organs was significantly higher with the small compared to the large gold nanoparticles. While the large gold nanoparticles were only found in the blood, the small gold nanoparticles were detected in the liver, spleen, brain, testes, and blood. In addition, the elimination half-life of the small gold nanoparticles from the lungs was significantly shorter than that of the large gold nanoparticles. The present data may, therefore, suggest that the smaller gold nanoparticles are able to translocate from the lungs, the primary exposure organ to extrapulmonary organs at a faster rate than the larger gold nanoparticles and thus confirming previous observations reported in the literature.
KeywordsGold nanoparticles Biopersistence Clearance Size difference Tissue distribution
This research was supported by NanoMaterial Technology Development Program (Green Nano Technology Development Program) (2011-0020504) and Nano R&D Program (2011-0019171) through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
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