In Vitro Alveolar Epithelial Models Toward the Prediction of Toxicity and Translocation of Nanoparticles: A Complementary Method for Mechanism Analyses in Humans

Part of the Current Topics in Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine book series (CTEHPM)


Nanoparticles are promising materials in research and industrial fields because of their unique characteristics, their safety and toxicity are still being investigated. Although the safety and toxicity of nanomaterials are predicted by animal experiments, obtained results may be inconsistent with human outcomes due to the species difference. Recently, there has been an increasing interest in in vitro lung models, which allow control of experimental parameters and quantitative analyses, for the prediction of lung injuries and translocation into secondary organs of nanoparticles. In this section, we focus on developing in vitro alveolar models consisting of not only human-derived cell lines but also primary rat cells as complementary methods for intratracheal instillation in rats. We also coculture with macrophages to approach physiologically relevant alveolar environment. In addition, cytotoxicity and permeability tests of nanoparticles are presented to evaluate the in vitro alveolar coculture modles developed here. To further improve the physiological relevance of in vitro alveolar models, we discuss future issues.


In vitro lung model Nanoparticles Pulmonary cytotoxicity Pulmonary permeability Alveolar type I and II cells Alveolar macrophage 



The works shown here are collaborative work with Mr. Takuya Aoyama, Mr. Kodai Harano, Ms. Xinying Xu, and Ms. Ayaka Uemura. This work is part of the research program “Development of innovative methodology for safety assessment of industrial nanomaterials” supported by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical System EngineeringThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Institute of Industrial ScienceThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Department of Laboratory MedicineIwate Medical University School of MedicineMoriokaJapan

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