The deposition characteristics in lungs following inhalation, the potential toxic effects induced and the toxicokinetic fate including a possible translocation to other sites of the body are predominantly determined by the agglomeration status of nanoscaled primary particles. Systemic particle effects, i.e. effects on remote organs besides the respiratory tract are considered to be of relevant impact only for de-agglomerated particles with a nanoscaled aspect. Rats were exposed to various types of nanoscaled particles, i.e. titanium dioxide, carbon black and constantan. These were dispersed in physiologically compatible media, e. g. phosphate buffer, sometimes including auxiliaries. Rats were treated with aqueous nanoparticle dispersions by intratracheal instillation or were exposed to well-characterized nanoparticle aerosols. Subsequently, alterations in the particle size distribution were studied using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) as well as the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) technique. Based on the results in various approaches, a tendency of nanoscaled particles to form larger size agglomerates following deposition and interaction with cells or the respiratory tract is predominant. The contrary trend, i.e. the increase of particle number due to a disintegration of agglomerates seems not to be of high relevance
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