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WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol
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Challenges in assessing nanomaterial toxicology: a personal perspective

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Abstract Nanotechnology exploits the fact that nanoparticles exhibit unique physicochemical properties, which are distinct from fine‐sized particles of the same composition. It follows that nanoparticles may also express distinct bioactivity and unique interactions with biological systems. Therefore, it is essential to assess the potential health risks of exposure to nanoparticles to allow development and implementation of prevention measures. Risk assessment requires data concerning hazard and exposure. Several challenges face the field of nanotoxicology in obtaining the necessary data for assessment of the bioactivity of nanoparticles. They include: (1) the vast number of nanoparticle types to be evaluated, (2) the need to use nanoparticle doses and structure sizes in cellular and animal test systems which are relevant to anticipated workplace exposures, and (3) artifactual in vitro results due to absorption of nutrients or assay indicator compounds from the culture media. This ‘opinion’ reviews the progress made in the field of nanotoxicology in recent years to overcome these challenges. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2010 2 569–577 This article is categorized under: Toxicology and Regulatory Issues in Nanomedicine > Toxicology of Nanomaterials

Inhalation and IT instillation exposure to fine TiO2 similarly impair systemic endothelium‐dependent arteriolar dilation 24 h after exposure to a similar degree. Dilation in response to arteriolar infusion of the calcium ionophore, A23187, was monitored by intravital microscopy of an exteriorized vascular bed from an anestitized rat with nerves and vessels intact. For inhalation exposure, the dose metric is the measured particle mass (µg) deposited in the lungs. For instillation exposure, the dose metric is the measured particle mass placed in suspension and then instilled. = Control, = 100 µg instillation, = 90 µg inhalation.

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Structure sizes of MWCNT. Left panels are electron micrographs of MWCNT suspended in diluted artificial alveolar lining fluid and used to expose mice by pharyngeal aspiration.9 Right panels are electron micrographs generated from a dry MWCNT sample for inhalation exposure of mice.18,40 Note the similarity of well‐dispersed structures. Scale bars = 200 nm.

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Examples of different sampling instruments used to measure occupational exposure to nanoparticles including the determination of real‐time particle number concentrations and size‐fractionated mass concentrations.

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Example of field application of instruments needed for real‐time measurement of number, mass, size distribution, and surface area.

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Toxicology and Regulatory Issues in Nanomedicine > Toxicology of Nanomaterials

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