Toxicology letters

Single-walled carbon nanotube exposure induces membrane rearrangement and suppression of receptor-mediated signalling pathways in model mast cells.

PMID 24910985


Carbon nanotubes (CNT) are environmental challenges to the respiratory and gastrointestinal mucosa, and to the dermal immune system. Mast cells (MC) are pro-inflammatory immunocytes that reside at these interfaces with the environment. Mast cells are sources of pro-inflammatory mediators (histamine, serotonin, matrix-active proteases, eicosanoids, prostanoids, cytokines and chemokines), which are released in a calcium-dependent manner following immunological challenge or physico-chemical stimulation. Since C-60 fullerenes, which share geometry with CNT, are suppressive of mast cell-driven inflammatory responses, we explored the effects of unmodified SWCNT aggregates on mast cell signaling pathways, phenotype and pro-inflammatory function. We noted SWCNT suppression of antigen-induced signalling pathways and pro-inflammatory degranulation responses. Mast cells recognize unmodified SWCNT by remodeling the plasma membrane, disaggregating the cortical actin cytoskeleton and relocalizing clathrin. Clathrin was also identified as a component of an affinity-purified 'interactome' isolated from MC using an SWCNT affinity matrix for mast cell lysates. Together, these data are consistent with the ability of SWCNT to suppress mast cell pro-inflammatory function via a novel recognition mechanism.