Diameter and rigidity of multi-walled carbon nanotubes are critical factors in mesothelial injury and carcinogenesis

Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) have the potential for widespread applications in engineering and materials science. However, due to their needle-like shape and high durability, concerns have been raised that MWCNTs may induce asbestos-like pathogenicity. Although recent studies have demonstrated that MWCNTs induce various types of reactivities, the physicochemical features of MWCNTs that determine their cytotoxicity and carcinogenicity in mesothelial cells remain unclear. Here, we showed that the deleterious effects of non-functionalized MWCNTs on human mesothelial cells were associated with their diameter-dependent piercing of the cell membrane.