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In Vivo Biodistribution, Pharmacokinetics, and Toxicology of Carbon Nanotubes

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Owing to their interesting physical and chemical properties, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have attracted wide attentions in nanomedicine for applications in biological sensing, drug delivery, as well as biomedical imaging. The in vivo behaviors and toxicology of CNTs in biological systems, which are important fundamental questions, although have been intensively studied in recent years, remain to be clarified as distinctive results have been reported by various teams, confusing the scientific community as well as the public. In this article, we review the research on the in vivo behaviors of CNTs, and summarize the toxicity studies of CNTs in animals by different groups. Similar to other nanomaterials, the in vivo pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of CNTs are closely associated with their surface coatings. The excretion of CNTs from animals may happen via renal and fecal pathways, depending on the CNT surface chemistry, shape, and sizes. Regarding the toxicology of CNTs, which has been a debating topic for years, the administration routes, doses, and again the surface functionalization are critical to the in vivo toxicity of nanotubes. Much more efforts are still required to develop functional CNT bioconjugates with improved biocompatible coatings and controllable optimal sizes to achieve fast excretion and minimal toxicity, for various applications in biomedicine.
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Keywords: Carbon nanotubes; biodistribution; cancer cells; diagnosis drugs; nanotechnology; pharmacokinetics; public health; toxicology; ullerene

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2012

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  • Current Drug Metabolism aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in drug metabolism and disposition. The journal serves as an international forum for the publication of timely reviews in drug metabolism. Current Drug Metabolism is an essential journal for academic, clinical, government and pharmaceutical scientists who wish to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments. The journal covers the following areas:

    In vitro systems including CYP-450; enzyme induction and inhibition; drug-drug interactions and enzyme kinetics; pharmacokinetics, toxicokinetics, species scaling and extrapolations; P-glycoprotein and transport carriers; target organ toxicity and interindividual variability; drug metabolism and disposition studies; extrahepatic metabolism; phase I and phase II metabolism; recent developments for the identification of drug metabolites and adducts.
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