Nanotechnology Project

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Environment, Health and Safety Research

Olfactory transport of inhaled nanoparticles

Project Information

Principal InvestigatorDavid D Dorman
InstitutionCIIT Centers for Health Research
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsHigh
Class of NanomaterialEngineered Nanomaterials
Impact SectorHuman Health
Broad Research Categories Exposure
NNI identifier

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Funding$380,000.00
Annual Funding$380,000.00
Funding SourceAmerican Chemistry Council
Funding MechanismOther
Funding SectorIndustry
Start Year2005
Anticipated End Year2006


Direct transport of materials from the nasal cavity to the brain, hence olfactory transport, is recognized as one means by which inhaled materials can gain access to the central nervous system. A number of environmental agents, such as aluminum, cadmium, manganese, mercury, nickel, and xylene may enter the brain via the olfactory nerve. Recent manganese inhalation studies performed by our laboratory have demonstrated that this pathway also occurs in nonhuman primates. There is a critical need to determine whether other classes of chemicals can undergo olfactory transport. One such class of agents is nanoparticles, an emerging heterogeneous category of materials with broad commercial application. The overall goal of this project is to determine whether inhaled nanoparticles will undergo olfactory transport. This project will address the fundamental question of whether the size a particle influences its ability to undergo olfactory transport. Studies with polyacrylamide and fluoro-gold nanoparticles will examine the initial uptake of these materials by the olfactory epithelium. This phase of the project will rely upon the use of rat olfactory explant cultures. The second set of experiments will rely on nasal instillation studies to explore the potential of nanoparticles to undergo olfactory transport. Nasal instillation studies have proven to be a cost effective way to examine these transport processes. One significant disadvantage of this approach is that the data derived from nasal instillation studies can not be readily applied to inhalation risk assessments. Thus the last set of experiments will characterize the olfactory transport of inhaled nanoparticles in rats. One advantage of these studies is that additional knowledge concerning lung and systemic delivery and clearance of these materials can also be developed coincidentally. In addition, data derived from these studies will be used by CIIT scientists that have developed dosimetry models that describe nasal and lung deposition of particles as well as other models developed to describe the olfactory transport of inhaled materials by laboratory animals. Our research will improve our understanding of the dosimetry and toxic potential of nanoparticles