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Inhalation of printer-emitted particles impairs cardiac conduction, hemodynamics, and autonomic regulation and induces arrhythmia and electrical remodeling in rats

  • Carll, Alex P.1, 1, 2
  • Salatini, Renata1, 3
  • Pirela, Sandra V.2
  • Wang, Yun2, 4
  • Xie, Zhengzhi1
  • Lorkiewicz, Pawel1
  • Naeem, Nazratan1
  • Qian, Yong5
  • Castranova, Vincent6
  • Godleski, John J.2
  • Demokritou, Philip2
  • 1 University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA , Louisville (United States)
  • 2 Harvard University, 665 Huntington Avenue, Room 1310, Boston, MA, 02115, USA , Boston (United States)
  • 3 University of Sao Paulo Medical School, Sao Paulo, Brazil , Sao Paulo (Brazil)
  • 4 Peking University, Beijing, People’s Republic of China , Beijing (China)
  • 5 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, WV, USA , Morgantown (United States)
  • 6 West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA , Morgantown (United States)
Published Article
Particle and Fibre Toxicology
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Jan 29, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12989-019-0335-z
Springer Nature


BackgroundUsing engineered nanomaterial-based toners, laser printers generate aerosols with alarming levels of nanoparticles that bear high bioactivity and potential health risks. Yet, the cardiac impacts of printer-emitted particles (PEPs) are unknown. Inhalation of particulate matter (PM) promotes cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, and ultra-fine particulates (< 0.1 μm aerodynamic diameter) may bear toxicity unique from larger particles. Toxicological studies suggest that PM impairs left ventricular (LV) performance; however, such investigations have heretofore required animal restraint, anesthesia, or ex vivo preparations that can confound physiologic endpoints and/or prohibit LV mechanical assessments during exposure. To assess the acute and chronic effects of PEPs on cardiac physiology, male Sprague Dawley rats were exposed to PEPs (21 days, 5 h/day) while monitoring LV pressure (LVP) and electrocardiogram (ECG) via conscious telemetry, analyzing LVP and heart rate variability (HRV) in four-day increments from exposure days 1 to 21, as well as ECG and baroreflex sensitivity. At 2, 35, and 70 days after PEPs exposure ceased, rats received stress tests.ResultsOn day 21 of exposure, PEPs significantly (P < 0.05 vs. Air) increased LV end systolic pressure (LVESP, + 18 mmHg) and rate-pressure-product (+ 19%), and decreased HRV indicating sympathetic dominance (root means squared of successive differences [RMSSD], − 21%). Overall, PEPs decreased LV ejection time (− 9%), relaxation time (− 3%), tau (− 5%), RMSSD (− 21%), and P-wave duration (− 9%). PEPs increased QTc interval (+ 5%) and low:high frequency HRV (+ 24%; all P < 0.05 vs. Air), while tending to decrease baroreflex sensitivity and contractility index (− 15% and − 3%, P < 0.10 vs. Air). Relative to Air, at both 2 and 35 days after PEPs, ventricular arrhythmias increased, and at 70 days post-exposure LVESP increased. PEPs impaired ventricular repolarization at 2 and 35 days post-exposure, but only during stress tests. At 72 days post-exposure, PEPs increased urinary dopamine 5-fold and protein expression of ventricular repolarizing channels, Kv1.5, Kv4.2, and Kv7.1, by 50%. Conclusions: Our findings suggest exposure to PEPs increases cardiovascular risk by augmenting sympathetic influence, impairing ventricular performance and repolarization, and inducing hypertension and arrhythmia. PEPs may present significant health risks through adverse cardiovascular effects, especially in occupational settings, among susceptible individuals, and with long-term exposure.

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