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WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol
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Mammalian gastrointestinal tract parameters modulating the integrity, surface properties, and absorption of food‐relevant nanomaterials

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Many natural chemicals in food are in the nanometer size range, and the selective uptake of nutrients with nanoscale dimensions by the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a normal physiological process. Novel engineered nanomaterials (NMs) can bring various benefits to food, e.g., enhancing nutrition. Assessing potential risks requires an understanding of the stability of these entities in the GI lumen, and an understanding of whether or not they can be absorbed and thus become systemically available. Data are emerging on the mammalian in vivo absorption of engineered NMs composed of chemicals with a range of properties, including metal, mineral, biochemical macromolecules, and lipid‐based entities. In vitro and in silico fluid incubation data has also provided some evidence of changes in particle stability, aggregation, and surface properties following interaction with luminal factors present in the GI tract. The variables include physical forces, osmotic concentration, pH, digestive enzymes, other food, and endogenous biochemicals, and commensal microbes. Further research is required to fill remaining data gaps on the effects of these parameters on NM integrity, physicochemical properties, and GI absorption. Knowledge of the most influential luminal parameters will be essential when developing models of the GI tract to quantify the percent absorption of food‐relevant engineered NMs for risk assessment. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2015, 7:609–622. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1333 This article is categorized under: Nanotechnology Approaches to Biology > Cells at the Nanoscale Toxicology and Regulatory Issues in Nanomedicine > Toxicology of Nanomaterials
The transit of consumed particulates through the lumen of the organs of the human digestive system. The buccal cavity, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine are separated from each other by sphincters, labeled in beige squares. Consumed particulates (shown in blue) passing through these organs may or may not remain in their native physicochemical state, and can develop a dynamic corona coating (represented in violet). (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2009 Elsevier)
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Pathways of nanoparticle absorption through the gastrointestinal tract epithelium. From left to right: vesicular endocytosis through epithelial cells where E/LY denotes endosome or lysosome; receptor‐mediated transport through epithelial cells; paracellular transport between epithelial cells; and vesicular phagocytosis through microfold (M) epithelial cells covering lymphoid aggregates, with dendritic cells below in brown. Nanoparticles are shown in blue.
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Mucus organization and nanoparticle interactions in the gastrointestinal tract. The gastrointestinal tissue is represented in grey with black folds representing the structure interfacing the lumen. The predominant mucin isotype expressed in each region is shown in parenthesis. L denotes the loosely bound outer mucus layer. Non‐interacting lamellar strands of loosely bound mucus in the small intestine are also shown in brown. F denotes the firmly attached inner mucus layer, shown in blue. Mucoadhesive nanoparticles are represented by the red circles; non‐mucoadhesive nanoparticles are represented by the black circles. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2011 National Academy of Sciences)
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Toxicology and Regulatory Issues in Nanomedicine > Toxicology of Nanomaterials
Nanotechnology Approaches to Biology > Cells at the Nanoscale

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