Effect of different carbon nanotubes on cell viability and proliferation

Milena De Nicola, Daniele Mirabile Gattia, Stefano Bellucci, Giovanni De Bellis, Federico Micciulla, Roberto Pastore, Alessandra Tiberia, Claudia Cerella, Maria D'Alessio, Marco Vittori Antisari, Renzo Marazzi, Enrico Traversa, Andrea Magrini, Antonio Bergamaschi, Lina Ghibelli*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are a focus of intense research for their potential applications in multiple diverse applications, including innovative biomedical applications. Due to their very recent discovery, little information is available about the biocompatibility and toxicity of this new class of nanoparticle, and a systematic study on biological interference is lacking. Thus, we decided to explore the toxicity of three different types of carbon nanotube, differing in preparation (arc discharge versus catalysed chemical vapour deposition); size (10-50 versus 100-150nm wide × 1-10νm long); contaminants (amorphous C, graphite, fullerenes or iron) and morphological type (multi-walled, MW, or single-walled, SW) on human leukemic U937 cells. We found that these carbon nanotubes exert a strong effect on the proliferation of the reporter U937 monocytic cell. However, these CNTs did not significantly affect the cell viability. These results show that CNTs, though not directly exerting a direct cytotoxic effect, are nonetheless able to deeply alter cell behaviour, and thus we recommend thorough analyses to limit health risk due to uncontrolled exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number395013
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number39
StatePublished - Oct 3 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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