Analysis of the In Vitro Toxicity of Nanocelluloses in Human Lung Cells as Compared to Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

Fátima Pinto, Ana Filipa Lourenço, Jorge F.S. Pedrosa, Lídia Gonçalves, Célia Ventura, Nádia Vital, Ana Bettencourt, Susete N. Fernandes, Rafaela R. da Rosa, Maria Helena Godinho, Henriqueta Louro, Paulo J.T. Ferreira, Maria João Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Cellulose micro/nanomaterials (CMNM), comprising cellulose microfibrils (CMF), nanofibrils (CNF), and nanocrystals (CNC), are being recognized as promising bio-nanomaterials due to their natural and renewable source, attractive properties, and potential for applications with industrial and economical value. Thus, it is crucial to investigate their potential toxicity before starting their production at a larger scale. The present study aimed at evaluating the cell internalization and in vitro cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of CMNM as compared to two multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT), NM-401 and NM-402, in A549 cells. The exposure to all studied NM, with the exception of CNC, resulted in evident cellular uptake, as analyzed by transmission electron microscopy. However, none of the CMNM induced cytotoxic effects, in contrast to the cytotoxicity observed for the MWCNT. Furthermore, no genotoxicity was observed for CNF, CNC, and NM-402 (cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay), while CMF and NM-401 were able to significantly raise micronucleus frequency. Only NM-402 was able to induce ROS formation, although it did not induce micronuclei. Thus, it is unlikely that the observed CMF and NM-401 genotoxicity is mediated by oxidative DNA damage. More studies targeting other genotoxicity endpoints and cellular and molecular events are underway to allow for a more comprehensive safety assessment of these nanocelluloses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1432
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2022


  • cell uptake
  • genotoxicity
  • in vitro cytotoxicity
  • micro/nanocelluloses
  • micronucleus assay
  • reactive oxygen species


Dive into the research topics of 'Analysis of the In Vitro Toxicity of Nanocelluloses in Human Lung Cells as Compared to Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this