Inhalation of air-dispersed sub-micrometre and nano-sized particles presents a risk factor for animal and human health. Here, we show that nasal aerodynamics plays a pivotal role in the protection of the subterranean mole vole Ellobius talpinus from an increased exposure to nano-aerosols. Quantitative simulation of particle flow has shown that their deposition on the total surface of the nasal cavity is higher in the mole vole than in a terrestrial rodent Mus musculus (mouse), but lower on the olfactory epithelium. In agreement with simulation results, we found a reduced accumulation of manganese in olfactory bulbs of mole voles in comparison with mice after the inhalation of nano-sized MnCl2 aerosols. We ruled out the possibility that this reduction is owing to a lower transportation from epithelium to brain in the mole vole as intranasal instillations of MnCl2 solution and hydrated nanoparticles of manganese oxide MnO • (H2O)x revealed similar uptake rates for both species. Together, we conclude that nasal geometry contributes to the protection of brain and lung from accumulation of air-dispersed particles in mole voles.

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Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Department of Biochemistry

Moshkin, M. P., Petrovski, D. V., Akulov, A. E., Romashchenko, A. V., Gerlinskaya, L. A., Ganimedov, V. L., … Fomin, V. M. (2014). Nasal aerodynamics protects brain and lung from inhaled dust in subterranean diggers, Ellobius talpinus. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281(1792). doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.0919