1 Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, SDU2 unknown3 Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, SDU
In vitro toxicological studies together with atomistic molecular dynamics simulations show that occupational co-exposure with C-60 fullerene may strengthen the health effects of organic industrial chemicals. The chemicals studied are acetophenone, benzaldehyde, benzyl alcohol, m-cresol, and toluene which can be used with fullerene as reagents or solvents in industrial processes. Potential co-exposure scenarios include a fullerene dust and organic chemical vapor, or a fullerene solution aerosolized in workplace air. Unfiltered and filtered mixtures of C-60 and organic chemicals represent different co-exposure scenarios in in vitro studies where acute cytotoxicity and immunotoxicity of C-60 and organic chemicals are tested together and alone by using human THP-1-derived macrophages. Statistically significant co-effects are observed for an unfiltered mixture of benzaldehyde and C-60 that is more cytotoxic than benzaldehyde alone, and for a filtered mixture of m-cresol and C-60 that is slightly less cytotoxic than m-cresol. Hydrophobicity of chemicals correlates with co-effects when secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1 beta and TNF-alpha is considered. Complementary atomistic molecular dynamics simulations reveal that C-60 co-aggregates with all chemicals in aqueous environment. Stable aggregates have a fullerene-rich core and a chemical-rich surface layer, and while essentially all C-60 molecules aggregate together, a portion of organic molecules remains in water.