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Toxicological Hazards of Inhaled Nanoparticles—Potential Implications for Drug Delivery

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Nanoparticles (NP), here defined as particles with a diameter smaller then 100 nm, are increasingly used in different applications, including drug carrier systems and to pass organ barriers such as the blood-brain barrier. On the other hand, a large body of know-how is available regarding toxicological effects of nanoparticle (NP) after inhalation. More specifically, a number of effects of inhaled NP are attributed to their (i) direct effects on the central nervous system, (ii) their translocation from the lung into the bloodstream, and (iii) their capacity to invoke inflammatory responses in the lung with subsequent systemic effects. This paper gives a brief review on the toxicology of inhaled NP, including general principles and current paradigms to explain the special case of NP in pulmonary toxicology. Since the evidence for health risks of NP after inhalation has been increasing over the last decade, this paper tries to extrapolate these findings and principles observed in inhalation toxicology into recommendations and methods for testing NP for nanocarrier purposes. A large gap is present between research on NP in inhalation toxicology and in nanoscaled drug carrying. This review recommends a closer interaction between both disciplines to gain insight in the role of NP size and properties and their mechanisms of acute and chronic interaction with biological systems.
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Keywords: DRUG DELIVERY; INHALATION; NANOPARTICLES; SYSTEMIC EFFECTS; TOXICOLOGY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2004

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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