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      Effects of gestational age and surface modification on materno-fetal transfer of nanoparticles in murine pregnancy

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          Nanoparticle exposure in pregnancy may result in placental damage and fetotoxicity; however, the factors that determine fetal nanoparticle exposure are unclear. Here we have assessed the effect of gestational age and nanoparticle composition on fetal accumulation of maternally-administered nanomaterials in mice. We determined the placental and fetal uptake of 13 nm gold nanoparticles with different surface modifications (ferritin, PEG and citrate) following intravenous administration at E5.5-15.5. We showed that prior to E11.5, all tested nanoparticles could be visualized and detected in fetal tissues in significant amounts; however, fetal gold levels declined dramatically post-E11.5. In contrast, Au-nanoparticle accumulation in the extraembryonic tissues (EET) increased 6–15 fold with gestational age. Fetal and EET accumulation of ferritin- and PEG-modified nanoparticles was considerably greater than citrate-capped nanoparticles. No signs of toxicity were observed. Fetal exposure to nanoparticles in murine pregnancy is, therefore, influenced by both stage of embryonic/placental maturation and nanoparticle surface composition.

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          Nanotoxicology: An Emerging Discipline Evolving from Studies of Ultrafine Particles

          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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            Strategies in the design of nanoparticles for therapeutic applications.

            Engineered nanoparticles have the potential to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases; for example, by allowing the targeted delivery of a drug to particular subsets of cells. However, so far, such nanoparticles have not proved capable of surmounting all of the biological barriers required to achieve this goal. Nevertheless, advances in nanoparticle engineering, as well as advances in understanding the importance of nanoparticle characteristics such as size, shape and surface properties for biological interactions, are creating new opportunities for the development of nanoparticles for therapeutic applications. This Review focuses on recent progress important for the rational design of such nanoparticles and discusses the challenges to realizing the potential of nanoparticles.
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              Factors Affecting the Clearance and Biodistribution of Polymeric Nanoparticles

              Nanoparticle (NP) drug delivery systems (5−250 nm) have the potential to improve current disease therapies because of their ability to overcome multiple biological barriers and releasing a therapeutic load in the optimal dosage range. Rapid clearance of circulating nanoparticles during systemic delivery is a critical issue for these systems and has made it necessary to understand the factors affecting particle biodistribution and blood circulation half-life. In this review, we discuss the factors which can influence nanoparticle blood residence time and organ specific accumulation. These factors include interactions with biological barriers and tunable nanoparticle parameters, such as composition, size, core properties, surface modifications (pegylation and surface charge), and finally, targeting ligand functionalization. All these factors have been shown to substantially affect the biodistribution and blood circulation half-life of circulating nanoparticles by reducing the level of nonspecific uptake, delaying opsonization, and increasing the extent of tissue specific accumulation.

                Author and article information

                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group
                13 November 2012
                : 2
                [1 ]CAS Key Laboratory for Biomedical Effects of Nanomaterials & Nanosafety, National Center for Nanoscience and Technology , Beijing, 100190 China
                [2 ]Institute of High Energy Physics , Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049 China
                [3 ]Institute of Chemistry , Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100190 China
                [4 ]Iron Metabolism Laboratory, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Royal Brisbane Hospital , Brisbane, Queensland, 4029 Australia
                [5 ]School of Women's and Infant's Health, University of Western Australia, King Edward Memorial Hospital , Subiaco, Perth, WA, Australia
                [6 ]College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Jilin University , Changchun, 130021, China
                [7 ]These authors contributed equally.
                Author notes
                Copyright © 2012, Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit




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