Cytotoxic Assessment of Carbon Nanotube Interaction with Cell Cultures

  • Hanene Ali-Boucetta
  • Khuloud T. Al-Jamal
  • Kostas Kostarelos
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 726)


The field of nanotoxicology recently has emerged out of the need to systematically study the biocompatibility and potential adverse effects of novel nanomaterials. Carbon nanotubes (CNT) are one of the most interesting types of nanomaterials, and recently, their use in applications has dramatically increased. Their potential adverse impact on human health and the environment, however, have caused them to be viewed with apprehension in certain cases so further studies into their toxicology are justified. Current methodologies using cell culture (in vitro) models are unreliable and are not yet able to offer conclusive results about the toxicity profile of CNT. The need for reliable and rapid toxicity assays that will allow high throughput screening of nanotube materials is a prerequisite for the valid assessment of CNT toxicity. The assay described here was developed based on the pitfalls and drawbacks of traditionally used cytotoxicity assays. A methodological description of the main problems associated with the MTT and the LDH assays is offered to illustrate the advantages of this novel assay for the study and determination of the cytotoxic profile of CNT. Most importantly, a thorough account of this novel assay which is considered to be rapid, reliable, and suitable for broad-spectrum cytotoxicity screening of different types of CNT is described.

Key words

Nanotechnology Nanotoxicology MTT LDH Fluorescence Cell death Apoptosis 



This work was partially supported by the European Union FP7 ANTICARB (HEALTH-2007-201587) program. H.A.-B. wishes to acknowledge the Ministére de l’Enseignement Supèrieur et de la Recherche Scientifique (Algeria) for a full Ph.D. scholarship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hanene Ali-Boucetta
  • Khuloud T. Al-Jamal
  • Kostas Kostarelos
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Drug Delivery Research, The School of PharmacyUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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