Silver nanoparticles (AgNP) are used in multiple applications but primarily in the manufacturing of antimicrobial products. Previous studies have identified AgNP toxicity in airway epithelial cells, but no studies to date have used organotypic cultures as a high-content model of the conducting airway to characterize the effects of interactions between host genetic and acquired factors, or gene × phenotype interactions (G × P), on AgNP toxicity. In the present study, we derived organotypic cultures from primary murine tracheal epithelial cells (MTEC) to characterize nominal and dosimetric dose-response relationships for AgNPs with a gold core on barrier dysfunction, glutathione (GSH) depletion, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, lipid peroxidation, and cytotoxicity across two genotypes (A/J and C57BL/6J mice), two phenotypes (‘Normal’ and ‘Type 2 [T2]-Skewed’), and two exposures (an acute exposure of 24 h and a subacute exposure of 4 h, every other day, over 5 days [5 × 4 h]). We characterized the ‘T2-Skewed’ phenotype as an model of chronic respiratory diseases, which was marked by increased sensitivity to AgNP-induced barrier dysfunction, GSH depletion, ROS production, lipid peroxidation, and cytotoxicity, suggesting that asthmatics are a sensitive population to AgNP exposures in occupational settings. This also suggests that exposure limits, which should be based upon the most sensitive population, should be derived using and models of chronic respiratory diseases. This study highlights the importance of considering dosimetry as well as G × P effects when screening and prioritizing potential respiratory toxicants. Such studies can be used to inform regulatory policy aimed at special protections for all populations.

References

PubMed