Silver nanoparticles (AgNP) are among the most promising nanomaterials, and their usage in medical applications and consumer products is growing rapidly. To evaluate possible adverse health effects, especially to the lungs, the current study focused on the cytotoxic and proinflammatory effects of AgNP after the intratracheal instillation in rats. Monodisperse, PVP-coated AgNP (70 nm) showing little agglomeration in aqueous suspension were instilled intratracheally. After 24 hours, the lungs were lavaged, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), total protein, and cytokine levels as well as total and differential cell counts were measured in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). Instillation of 50 mu g PVP-AgNP did not result in elevated LDH, total protein, or cytokine levels in BALF compared to the control, whereas instillation of 250 mu g PVP-AgNP caused a significant increase in LDH (1.9-fold) and total protein (1.3-fold) levels as well as in neutrophil numbers (60-fold) of BALF. Furthermore, while there was no change in BALF cytokine levels after the instillation of 50 mu g PVP-AgNP, instillation of 250 mu g PVP-AgNP resulted in significantly increased levels of seven out of eleven measured cytokines. These finding suggest that exposure to inhaled AgNP can induce moderate pulmonary toxicity, but only at rather high concentrations.