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      Nanotoxicology: An Emerging Discipline Evolving from Studies of Ultrafine Particles

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          Abstract

          Although humans have been exposed to airborne nanosized particles (NSPs; < 100 nm) throughout their evolutionary stages, such exposure has increased dramatically over the last century due to anthropogenic sources. The rapidly developing field of nanotechnology is likely to become yet another source through inhalation, ingestion, skin uptake, and injection of engineered nanomaterials. Information about safety and potential hazards is urgently needed. Results of older bio-kinetic studies with NSPs and newer epidemiologic and toxicologic studies with airborne ultrafine particles can be viewed as the basis for the expanding field of nanotoxicology, which can be defined as safety evaluation of engineered nanostructures and nanodevices. Collectively, some emerging concepts of nanotoxicology can be identified from the results of these studies. When inhaled, specific sizes of NSPs are efficiently deposited by diffusional mechanisms in all regions of the respiratory tract. The small size facilitates uptake into cells and transcytosis across epithelial and endothelial cells into the blood and lymph circulation to reach potentially sensitive target sites such as bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen, and heart. Access to the central nervous system and ganglia via translocation along axons and dendrites of neurons has also been observed. NSPs penetrating the skin distribute via uptake into lymphatic channels. Endocytosis and biokinetics are largely dependent on NSP surface chemistry (coating) and in vivo surface modifications. The greater surface area per mass compared with larger-sized particles of the same chemistry renders NSPs more active biologically. This activity includes a potential for inflammatory and pro-oxidant, but also antioxidant, activity, which can explain early findings showing mixed results in terms of toxicity of NSPs to environmentally relevant species. Evidence of mitochondrial distribution and oxidative stress response after NSP endocytosis points to a need for basic research on their interactions with subcellular structures. Additional considerations for assessing safety of engineered NSPs include careful selections of appropriate and relevant doses/concentrations, the likelihood of increased effects in a compromised organism, and also the benefits of possible desirable effects. An interdisciplinary team approach (e.g., toxicology, materials science, medicine, molecular biology, and bioinformatics, to name a few) is mandatory for nanotoxicology research to arrive at an appropriate risk assessment.

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          Most cited references158

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          Pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the environment: agents of subtle change?

          During the last three decades, the impact of chemical pollution has focused almost exclusively on the conventional "priority" pollutants, especially those acutely toxic/carcinogenic pesticides and industrial intermediates displaying persistence in the environment. This spectrum of chemicals, however, is only one piece of the larger puzzle in "holistic" risk assessment. Another diverse group of bioactive chemicals receiving comparatively little attention as potential environmental pollutants includes the pharmaceuticals and active ingredients in personal care products (in this review collectively termed PPCPs), both human and veterinary, including not just prescription drugs and biologics, but also diagnostic agents, "nutraceuticals," fragrances, sun-screen agents, and numerous others. These compounds and their bioactive metabolites can be continually introduced to the aquatic environment as complex mixtures via a number of routes but primarily by both untreated and treated sewage. Aquatic pollution is particularly troublesome because aquatic organisms are captive to continual life-cycle, multigenerational exposure. The possibility for continual but undetectable or unnoticed effects on aquatic organisms is particularly worrisome because effects could accumulate so slowly that major change goes undetected until the cumulative level of these effects finally cascades to irreversible change--change that would otherwise be attributed to natural adaptation or ecologic succession. As opposed to the conventional, persistent priority pollutants, PPCPs need not be persistent if they are continually introduced to surface waters, even at low parts-per-trillion/parts-per-billion concentrations (ng-microg/L). Even though some PPCPs are extremely persistent and introduced to the environment in very high quantities and perhaps have already gained ubiquity worldwide, others could act as if they were persistent, simply because their continual infusion into the aquatic environment serves to sustain perpetual life-cycle exposures for aquatic organisms. This review attempts to synthesize the literature on environmental origin, distribution/occurrence, and effects and to catalyze a more focused discussion in the environmental science community.
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            CCR7 governs skin dendritic cell migration under inflammatory and steady-state conditions.

            The CC chemokine receptor CCR7 has been identified as a key regulator of homeostatic B and T cell trafficking to secondary lymphoid organs. Data presented here demonstrate that CCR7 is also an essential mediator for entry of both dermal and epidermal dendritic cells (DC) into the lymphatic vessels within the dermis while this receptor is dispensable for the mobilization of Langerhans cells from the epidermis to the dermis. Moreover, a distinct population of CD11c(+)MHCII(high) DC showing low expression of the costimulatory molecules CD40, CD80, and CD86 in wild-type animals was virtually absent in skin-draining lymph nodes of CCR7-deficient mice under steady-state conditions. We provide evidence that these cells represent a semimature population of DC that is capable of initiating T cell proliferation under conditions known to induce tolerance. Thus, our data identify CCR7 as a key regulator that governs trafficking of skin DC under both inflammatory and steady-state conditions.
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              Comparative pulmonary toxicity assessment of single-wall carbon nanotubes in rats.

              The aim of this study was to evaluate the acute lung toxicity of intratracheally instilled single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) in rats. The lungs of rats were instilled either with 1 or 5 mg/kg of the following control or particle types: (1) SWCNT, (2) quartz particles (positive control), (3) carbonyl iron particles (negative control), (4) phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) + 1% Tween 80, or (5) graphite particles (lung tissue studies only). Following exposures, the lungs of PBS and particle-exposed rats were assessed using bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid biomarkers and cell proliferation methods, and by histopathological evaluation of lung tissue at 24 h, 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months postinstillation. Exposures to high-dose (5 mg/kg) SWCNT produced mortality in ~15% of the SWCNT-instilled rats within 24 h postinstillation. This mortality resulted from mechanical blockage of the upper airways by the instillate and was not due to inherent pulmonary toxicity of the instilled SWCNT particulate. Exposures to quartz particles produced significant increases versus controls in pulmonary inflammation, cytotoxicity, and lung cell parenchymal cell proliferation indices. Exposures to SWCNT produced transient inflammatory and cell injury effects. Results from the lung histopathology component of the study indicated that pulmonary exposures to quartz particles (5 mg/kg) produced dose-dependent inflammatory responses, concomitant with foamy alveolar macrophage accumulation and lung tissue thickening at the sites of normal particle deposition. Pulmonary exposures to carbonyl iron or graphite particles produced no significant adverse effects. Pulmonary exposures to SWCNT in rats produced a non-dose-dependent series of multifocal granulomas, which were evidence of a foreign tissue body reaction and were nonuniform in distribution and not progressive beyond 1 month postexposure (pe). The observation of SWCNT-induced multifocal granulomas is inconsistent with the following: (1) lack of lung toxicity by assessing lavage parameters, (2) lack of lung toxicity by measuring cell proliferation parameters, (3) an apparent lack of a dose response relationship, (4) nonuniform distribution of lesions, (5) the paradigm of dust-related lung toxicity effects, (6) possible regression of effects over time. In addition, the results of two recent exposure assessment studies indicate very low aerosol SWCNT exposures at the workplace. Thus, the physiological relevance of these findings should ultimately be determined by conducting an inhalation toxicity study.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Environ Health Perspect
                Environmental Health Perspectives
                National Institue of Environmental Health Sciences
                0091-6765
                July 2005
                22 March 2005
                : 113
                : 7
                : 823-839
                Affiliations
                1Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA
                2Department of Biology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, USA
                3Toxicology Department, Bayer CropScience, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA
                Author notes
                Address correspondence to G. Oberdörster, University of Rochester, Department of Environmental Medicine, 575 Elmwood Ave., MRBx Building, Box 850, Rochester, NY 14642 USA. Telephone: (585) 275-3804. Fax: (585) 256-2631. E-mail: Gunter_Oberdorster@urmc.rochester.edu

                The views expressed by the authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the EPA.

                J. Oberdörster is an employee of Bayer CropScience. The other authors declare they have no competing financial interests.

                Article
                ehp0113-000823
                10.1289/ehp.7339
                1257642
                16002369
                6c386230-3474-40e4-8b56-cd2c68228668
                This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original DOI.
                History
                : 18 June 2004
                : 22 March 2005
                Categories
                Reviews

                Public health
                nanosized particles,central nervous system,human health,risk assessment,ultrafine particles,skin,biokinetics,environmental health,engineered nanomaterials,respiratory tract

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