On 6 October, scientist Elisabeth Elje at NILU’s department of environmental chemistry and health defended her doctoral thesis “Advanced lung and liver models for hazard characterization of nanomaterials”.
In order to assess the possible negative health effects of environmental pollutants and particles, it is important to use ethical models based on cell cultures that mimic the body as well as possible. In her thesis “Advanced lung and liver models for hazard characterization of nanomaterials“, Elisabeth Elje and colleagues have studied and compared traditional and new advanced lung and liver models. They wanted to understand how the cells’ culture conditions affect a toxic response.
They found that the cells’ responses to a selection of nanomaterials and chemicals depended on various factors including cell type and contact with other cells. The responses also depended on what the cells were exposed to.
By combining the use of new advanced models and studies of genotoxicity, they found that the models can be used to investigate whether the particles or chemicals can change the cells’ genetic information.
Larger variations in the results were found for the advanced models. This is as expected, as the traditional models have been used for a longer time and are more standardized. The advanced models nevertheless produced reproducible responses, which were found by performing the same experiments in two laboratories.
This study is an important contribution to the development of new models that can be used in risk assessment of particles and chemicals. The advanced models are promising models that could possibly be used instead of animal testing in the future.
Elisabeth Elje’s doctorate was completed at the University of Oslo’s Institute for Basic Medical Sciences. Her supervisors were Dr. Elise Rundén Pran (NILU), Dr. Espen Mariussen (Norwegian Institute of Public Health) and Dr. Reidun Torp (University of Oslo).