Evaluation of the Toxicity, Alveolar Cell Accumulation and Clearance of PET and PS Nanoplastics in Mouse Lungs

Thomas Loret, Sonja Holme, Aswin Kuttykattil, Aliro Villacorta, Adriana Rodríguez-Garraus, Tom Venus, Irina Estrela-Lopis, Julia Catalan, Ricard Marcos, Alba Hernandez, Cyrill Bussy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Airborne micro and nano-plastics (MNPs) have been detected in both indoor and outdoor settings, raising concerns about potential adverse effects upon inhalation. Yet, their potential pulmonary toxicity has not been studied extensively. Herein, we evaluated the pulmonary toxicity and clearance of nanometric Poly-Ethylene Terephthalate (PET; ~50-200 nm) fragments from plastic bottles and two nanometric polystyrene (PS; 50 and 200 nm) beads. Adult mice were exposed to a unique dose of 50 ug in 30uL/mouse of PET, PS-50, PS-200, or vehicle by pharyngeal aspiration. The lungs, broncho-alveolar lavage fluids (BALF) and lymph nodes were collected at 1, 7 and 28 days after exposure. MNPs presence in lung tissue, accumulation in alveolar cells, and clearance from the alveolar cavity and lungs were assessed using confocal Raman microscopy (CRM). Inflammation and tissue damages were evaluated by histology, immunostaining and ELISA. PET and PS nanoplastics were detected by CRM in lungs and alveolar phagocytes. Evaluation of MNPs elimination and translocation to lymph nodes is underway. Pulmonary exposure to MNPs induced immune cell infiltration respective of MNP type or size. Recruitment of neutrophils at day 1 and eosinophils at day 7 was more pronounced for the PS-50 than for the other two MNPs. Recruitment of lymphocytes was noted at day 7, yet only for PS-50 nm. Potential long-term impact (genotoxicity, fibrosis) is under investigation. These results will inform the design of future chronic low-dose exposure studies, and path the way to new policies about the impact of MNPs on human health.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnals of Work Exposures and Health
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)2398-7316
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2023
EventInhaled Particles and NanOEH Conference 2023 - Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 15 May 202318 May 2023

Publication series

NameAnnals of Work Exposures and Health


ConferenceInhaled Particles and NanOEH Conference 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • plastics
  • lung
  • toxicity

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Advanced materials
  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute
  • Henry Royce Institute


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