Biodistribution and Toxicity of Nanomaterials In Vivo: Effects of Composition, Size, Surface Functionalization and Route of Exposure

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Given the anticipated growth of the nanotechnology industry and the deficiency of toxicological information, there is an obvious need for rapid, relevant and efficient testing strategies to evaluate the biological activity and toxic potential of novel nanomaterials. Our approach utilizes a dynamic whole animal (embryonic zebrafish) assay to reveal whether a nanomaterial is potentially toxic at multiple levels of biological organization. Embryonic zebrafish toxicity assays were performed to define in vivo responses to nanomaterials and identify physicochemical properties that lead to adverse biological consequences. To investigate the importance of size and surface functionalization on the toxic potential of nanomaterials, we chose to evaluate carbon fullerenes and gold nanoparticles. To investigate the importance of chemical composition, we evaluated 11 dispersions of nanoparticulate metal oxides. In vivo biodistribution of nanomaterials was investigated using polystyrene and CdSe fluorescent nanomaterials (FluoSphere and Qdots, respectively). Toxicity of carbon fullerenes was dependent on surface functionalization and toxicity of metal oxides was dependent on material composition. Core size and surface functionalization both influenced the toxicity of gold nanoparticles. Information gained from this dynamic whole animal assay is useful as feedback for engineers designing novel nanomaterials to direct the rational development of safer, less hazardous nanomaterials.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 2, Technical Proceedings of the 2007 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show, Volume 2
Published: May 20, 2007
Pages: 666 - 669
Industry sectors: Medical & Biotech | Personal & Home Care, Food & Agriculture
Topics: Environmental Health & Safety of Nanomaterials
ISBN: 1-4200-6183-6