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We hypothesise that inflammatory response and morphological characteristics of lung parenchyma differ after exposure to short or long multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT). Mice were subjected to a single dose of vehicle, short or long MWCNT by pharyngeal aspiration. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) obtained at 24 h was analysed for inflammatory reaction and lung tissue was analysed for morphological alterations using stereology. Short MWCNT had stronger potential to induce polymorphonuclear cells whereas long MWCNT increased interleukin-6 levels in BALF. Alveolar septal fibrosis was only observed with short MWCNT. Type II pneumocyte hypertrophy was only detected with long MWCNT. There was no reduction in total alveolar surface area and no sign of type II cell hyperplasia. We observed mild inflammatory and pathological responses to short and long MWCNT in the lung parenchyma depending on the size of the applied MWCNT.
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