Comparative study of pulmonary responses to nano- and submicron-sized ferric oxide in rats

Mo Tao Zhu, Wei Yue Feng, Bing Wang, Tian Cheng Wang, Yi Qun Gu, Meng Wang, Yun Wang, Hong Ouyang, Yu Liang Zhao, Zhi Fang Chai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

246 Scopus citations


Ferric oxide (Fe2O3) nanoparticles are of considerable interest for application in nanotechnology related fields. However, as iron being a highly redox-active transition metal, the safety of iron nanomaterials need to be further studied. In this study, the size, dose and time dependent of Fe2O3 nanoparticle on pulmonary and coagulation system have been studied after intratracheal instillation. The Fe2O3 nanoparticles with mean diameters of 22 and 280 nm, respectively, were intratracheally instilled to male Sprague Dawley rats at low (0.8 mg/kg bw) and high (20 mg/kg bw) doses. The toxic effects were monitored in the post-instilled 1, 7 and 30 days. Our results showed that the Fe2O3 nanoparticle exposure could induce oxidative stress in lung. Alveolar macrophage (AM) over-loading of phagocytosed nanoparticle by high dose treatment had occurred, while the non-phagocytosed particles were found entering into alveolar epithelial in day 1 after exposure. Several inflammatory reactions including inflammatory and immune cells increase, clinical pathological changes: follicular hyperplasia, protein effusion, pulmonary capillary vessel hyperaemia and alveolar lipoproteinosis in lung were observed. The sustain burden of particles in AM and epithelium cells has caused lung emphysema and pro-sign of lung fibrosis. At the post-instilled day 30, the typical coagulation parameters, prothrombin time (PT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) in blood of low dose 22 nm-Fe2O3 treated rats were significantly longer than the controls. We concluded that both of the two-sized Fe2O3 particle intratracheal exposure could induce lung injury. Comparing with the submicron-sized Fe2O3 particle, the nano-sized Fe2O3 particle may increase microvascular permeability and cell lysis in lung epitheliums and disturb blood coagulation parameters significantly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-111
Number of pages10
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - May 21 2008


  • Coagulatory disturbance
  • Ferric oxide nanoparticle
  • Intratracheal instillation
  • Pulmonary response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparative study of pulmonary responses to nano- and submicron-sized ferric oxide in rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this