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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 397206, 9 pages
Research Article

Changes in Cardiac Autonomic Regulation after Acute Lung Exposure to Carbon Nanotubes: Implications for Occupational Exposure

1Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Università “Tor Vergata”, Via Montpellier 1, 00133 Roma, Italy
2A.F.O. Medicina d'Urgenza-Pronto Soccorso, Dipartimento delle Emergenze, Policlinico Tor Vergata, Viale Oxford 81, 00133 Roma, Italy
3Divisione di Riabilitazione Cardiologica, IRCCS S. Raffaele, Via dei Laghi Km 19.600, 00049 Velletri, Italy
4Stazione per la Tecnologia Animale, Università “Tor Vergata”, Via Montpellier 1, 00133 Roma, Italy
5Sezione di Medicina del Lavoro, Dipartimento di Biopatologia e Diagnostica per Immagini, Università di Roma “Tor Vergata”, Via Montpellier 1, 00133 Rome, Italy
6Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Chimiche, Università di Roma “Tor Vergata”, Via della Ricerca Scientifica 1, 00133 Roma, Italy
7CNR-Centro Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Fisiologia Clinica, Via Giuseppe Moruzzi 1, 56124 Pisa, Italy
8Istituto di Medicina del Lavoro, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Largo F. Vito 1, 00168 Roma, Italy
9Dipartimento di Salute Pubblica e Biologia Cellulare, Università “Tor Vergata”, Via Montpellier 1, 00133 Roma, Italy

Received 14 October 2011; Accepted 20 February 2012

Academic Editor: Sergio Iavicoli

Copyright © 2012 Jacopo M. Legramante et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are among the most relevant engineered nanomaterials (ENMs). Given the expected rise of exposure to ENMs, there is concern that they may adversely affect health of exposed people. Aim of the study was to test the hypothesis that single wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) pulmonary exposure acutely affect the autonomic cardiovascular regulation in conscious rats. We studied Wistar-Kyoto rats in which a telemetry transmitter for continuous arterial pressure (AP) and heart rate (HR) recordings was surgically implanted. SWCNTs dispersed in phosphate buffer saline (PBS) or PBS alone were randomly administered intratracheally. Immediately before, and 24 hours after each instillation a 30 min AP recording was performed. The sequence analysis was performed to evaluate the baroreflex function. In the control group, PBS instillation did not induce any significant changes. At variance the SWCNT exposure induced a significant reduction of baroreflex system (BRS) ( 3 . 5 ± 0 . 6 versus 2 . 6 ± 0 . 4 0  msec/mmHg) without significant changes in the occurrence of baroreflex sequences ( 7 . 5 ± 0 . 4 7 % versus 7 . 4 ± 0 . 3 8 %). Our results show that SWCNT pulmonary exposure might affect the cardiovascular autonomic regulation thus contributing to cardiac and arrhythmic events.