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    Indium tin oxide (ITO) is an important semiconductor material, because of increasing commercial products consumption and potentially exposed workers worldwide. So, urgently we need to assess and manage potential health risks of ITO. Although the Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) has been established for ITO exposure, there is still a lack of distinguishing the risks of exposure to particles of different sizes. Therefore, obtaining toxicological data of small-sized particles will help to improve its risk assessment data. Important questions raised in quantitative risk assessments for ITO particles are whether biodistribution of ITO particles is affected by particle size and to what extent systematic adverse responses is subsequently initiated. In order to determine whether this toxicological paradigm for size is relevant in ITO toxic effect, we performed comparative studies on the toxicokinetics and sub-acute toxicity test of ITO in mice. The results indicate both sized-ITO resided in the lung tissue and slowly excreted from the mice, and the smaller size of ITO being cleared more slowly. Only a little ITO was transferred to other organs, especially with higher blood flow. Two type of ITO which deposit in the lung mainly impacts respiratory system and may injure liver or kidney. After sub-acute exposure to ITO, inflammation featured by neutrophils infiltration and fibrosis with both dose and size effects have been observed. Our findings revealed toxicokinetics and dose-dependent pulmonary toxicity in mice via oropharyngeal aspiration exposure, also replenish in vivo risk assessment of ITO. Collectively, these data indicate that under the current OEL, there are potential toxic effects after exposure to the ITO particles. The observed size-dependent biodistribution patterns and toxic effect might be important for approaching the hazard potential of small-sized ITO in an occupational environment. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


    Jing Qu, Jianli Wang, Haopeng Zhang, Jingying Wu, Xinmo Ma, Shile Wang, Yiteng Zang, Yuhui Huang, Ying Ma, Yuna Cao, Daming Wu, Ting Zhang. Toxicokinetics and systematic responses of differently sized indium tin oxide (ITO) particles in mice via oropharyngeal aspiration exposure. Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987). 2021 Dec 01;290:117993

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    PMID: 34428702

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