Imperial College London

Prof Milo Shaffer

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Chemistry

Professor of Materials Chemistry



+44 (0)20 7594 5825m.shaffer Website




Mr John Murrell +44 (0)20 7594 2845




M221Royal College of ScienceSouth Kensington Campus






BibTex format

author = {Ruenraromgsak, P and Chen, S and Hu, S and Melbourne, J and Sweeney, S and Thorley, AJ and Skepper, JN and Shaffer, MSP and Tetley, TD and Porter, AE},
doi = {10.1021/acsnano.5b08218},
journal = {ACS Nano},
pages = {5070--5085},
title = {Translocation of functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes across human pulmonary alveolar epithelium: dominant role of epithelial type 1 cells},
url = {},
volume = {10},
year = {2016}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Uptake and translocation of short functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (short-fMWCNTs) through the pulmonary respiratory epithelial barrier depend on physicochemical property and cell type. Two monoculture models, immortalized human alveolar epithelial type 1 (TT1) cells and primary human alveolar epithelial type 2 cells (AT2), which constitute the alveolar epithelial barrier, were employed to investigate the uptake and transport of 300 and 700 nm in length, poly(4-vinylpyridine)-functionalized, multi-walled carbon nanotubes (p(4VP)-MWCNTs) using quantitative imaging and spectroscopy techniques. The p(4VP)-MWCNT exhibited no toxicity on TT1 and AT2 cells, but significantly decreased barrier integrity (p < 0.01). Uptake of p(4VP)-MWCNTs was observed in 70% of TT1 cells, correlating with compromised barrier integrity and basolateral p(4VP)-MWCNT translocation. There was a small but significantly greater uptake of 300 nm p(4VP)-MWCNTs than 700 nm p(4VP)-MWCNTs by TT1 cells. Up to 3% of both the 300 and 700 nm p(4VP)-MWCNTs reach the basal chamber; this relatively low amount arose because the supporting transwell membrane minimized the amount of p(4VP)-MWCNT translocating to the basal chamber, seen trapped between the basolateral cell membrane and the membrane. Only 8% of AT2 cells internalized p(4VP)-MWCNT, accounting for 17% of applied p(4VP)-MWCNT), with transient effects on barrier function, which initially fell then returned to normal; there was no MWCNT basolateral translocation. The transport rate was MWCNT length modulated. The comparatively lower p(4VP)-MWCNT uptake by AT2 cells is proposed to reflect a primary barrier effect of type 2 cell secretions and the functional differences between the type 1 and type 2 alveolar epithelial cells.
AU - Ruenraromgsak,P
AU - Chen,S
AU - Hu,S
AU - Melbourne,J
AU - Sweeney,S
AU - Thorley,AJ
AU - Skepper,JN
AU - Shaffer,MSP
AU - Tetley,TD
AU - Porter,AE
DO - 10.1021/acsnano.5b08218
EP - 5085
PY - 2016///
SN - 1936-086X
SP - 5070
TI - Translocation of functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes across human pulmonary alveolar epithelium: dominant role of epithelial type 1 cells
T2 - ACS Nano
UR -
UR -
VL - 10
ER -