Comparative pulmonary toxicity of two Ceria nanoparticles with the same primary size

Lu Peng, Xiao He, Peng Zhang, Jing Zhang, Yuanyuan Li, Junzhe Zhang, Yuhui Ma, Yayun Ding, Zhenqiang Wu, Zhifang Chai, Zhiyong Zhang

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32 Citations (Scopus)
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Ceria nanoparticles (nano-ceria) have recently gained a wide range of applications, which might pose unwanted risks to both the environment and human health. The greatest potential for the environmental discharge of nano-ceria appears to be in their use as a diesel fuel additive. The present study was designed to explore the pulmonary toxicity of nano-ceria in mice after a single exposure via intratracheal instillation. Two types of nano-ceria with the same distribution of a primary size (3–5 nm), but different redox activity, were used: Ceria-p, synthesized by a precipitation route, and Ceria-h, synthesized by a hydrothermal route. Both Ceria-p and Ceria-h induced oxidative stress, inflammatory responses and cytotoxicity in mice, but their toxicological profiles were quite different. The mean size of Ceria-p agglomerates was much smaller compared to Ceria-h, thereby causing a more potent acute inflammation, due to their higher number concentration of agglomerates and higher deposition rate in the deep lung. Ceria-h had a higher reactivity to catalyzing the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and caused two waves of lung injury: bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) inflammation and cytotoxicity in the early stage and redox-activity-evoked lipid peroxidation and pro-inflammation in the latter stage. Therefore, the size distribution of ceria-containing agglomerates in the exhaust, as well as their surface chemistry are essential characteristics to assess the potential risks of using nano-ceria as a fuel additive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6072-6085
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2014


  • nano-ceria
  • pulmonary toxicity
  • agglomerates
  • size distribution
  • surface chemistry


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