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Posted: Dec 06, 2011

Interactions of nanomaterials with the immune system

(Nanowerk News) Evaluation of the immunomodulatory potentials of nanomaterials is essential for developing safe and consumer-friendly nanotechnology.
Various nanomaterials interact with the immunesystem, in a beneficial or deleteriousway, but mechanistic details about such interactions are scarce. A lack of agreed-upon guidelines for evaluating the immunotoxicity of nanoparticles (NPs) adds to the complexity of the issue.
Various review articles have summarized the immune system interactions of biodegradable NPs (with pharmaceutical uses), but such information is largely lacking for nonbiodegradable NPs.
In a recent review article in WIREs Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology ("Interactions of nanomaterials with the immune system") the authors give an overview of interactions of nonbiodegradable, persistent NPs with the immune system. Particular emphases include key factors that shape such interactions, cell-specific responses, allergy and immune-sensitive respiratory disorders.
They comclude that more systematic studies are needed, particularly those controlling the characteristics of the nanomaterials and exposing cells and/or full organisms at low (realistic) concentrations, which would result in only mild responses (mild inflammation, low toxicity), to study chronic exposure situations.
To avoid huge numbers of in vivo studies, more effort should be undertaken to use multiple cells in one culture system, thus allowing 'natural' interactions between cells.
Finally, establishing pertinent endpoints and testing guidelines for immunological evaluation of nanomaterials are desired.
Source: Wiley
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