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Physico-Chemical Properties Mediating Reproductive and Developmental Toxicity of Engineered Nanomaterials

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With the increasing production of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) exploited in many consumer products, a wider number of people is expected to be exposed to such materials in the near future, both in occupational and environmental settings. This has raised concerns about the possible implications on public health. In particular, very recently the scientific community has focused on the effect that ENMs might exert on the reproductive apparatus and on embryonic development. Indications that ENMs might have adverse effects on cells of the germ line and on the developing embryos have been reported. In the present minireview we will perform a critical analysis of the published work on reproductive and developmental toxicity of the most commonly used nanoparticles with a major focus on mammalian models. We will place emphasis on the main physico-chemical characteristics that can affect NP behaviour in biological systems, i.e. presence of contaminants and nanoparticle destabilization, size, dosage, presence of functional groups, influence of the solvent used for their suspension in biological media, aggregation/agglomeration, intrinsic chemical composition and protein corona/opsonisation.

The importance of this specific field of nanotoxicology is documented by the rapidly increasing number of published papers registered in the last three years, which might be a consequence of the growing concerns on the possible interference of ENMs with reproductive ability and pregnancy outcome, in a time in which reproductive age has increased and the possibility to bear children appears reduced.

Keywords: Nanoparticles; carbon nanotubes; embryo; embryonic development; engineered nanomaterials; gold; nanotoxicology; placenta; placental barrier; reproductive toxicology; silica; silver

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-09-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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