A considerable amount of studies have been conducted to investigate the interactions of biological fluids with nanoparticle surfaces, which exhibit a high affinity for proteins and particles. However, the mechanisms underlying these interactions have not been elucidated, particularly as they relate to human health. Using bovine serum albumin (BSA) and mice bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) as models for protein-particle conjugates, we characterized the physicochemical modifications of carbon blacks (CB) with 23 nm or 65 nm in diameter after protein treatment. Adsorbed BALF-containing proteins were quantified and identified by pathways, biological analyses and protein classification. Significant modifications of the physicochemistry of CB were induced by the addition of BSA. Enzyme modulators and hydrolase predominately interacted with CB, with protein-to-CB interactions that were associated with the coagulation pathways. Additionally, our results revealed that an acute-phase response could be activated by these proteins. With regard to human health, the present study revealed that the CB can react with proteins (~55. kDa and 70. kDa) after inhalation and may modify the functional structures of lung proteins, leading to the activation of acute-inflammatory responses in the lungs.
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