Inhalation of acid coated carbon black particles impairs alveolar macrophage phagocytosis

George J. Jakab, Robert W. Clarke, David R. Hemenway, Malinda V. Longphre, Steven R. Kleeberger, Robert Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A flow-past nose-only inhalation system was used for the co-exposure of mice to carbon black aerosols (CBA) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) at varying relative humidities (RH). The conversion of SO2 to sulfate (SO4-2) on the CBA, at a fixed aerosol concentration, was dependent on RH and SO2 concentration. The effect of the aerosol-gas mixture on alveolar macrophage (AM) phagocytosis was assessed three days following exposure for 4 h. Exposure to 10 mg/m3 CBA alone at low RH (10%) and high RH (85%), to 10 ppm SO2 alone at both RH, and to the mixture at low RH had no effect on AM phagocytosis. In contrast, AM phagocytosis was significantly suppressed following co-exposure at 85% RH, the only circumstance in which significant chemisorption of the gas by the aerosol and oxidation to SO4-2 occurred. The results suggest that fine carbon particles can be an effective vector for the delivery of toxic amounts of SO4-2 to the periphery of the lung.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-248
Number of pages6
JournalToxicology Letters
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Nov 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • aerosol
  • alveolar macrophages
  • carbon black
  • lung
  • particles
  • phagocytosis
  • sulfate
  • sulfuric acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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