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Toxicology of Engineered Metal Nanoparticles

Systems Toxicology


  1. Giovanni Bernardini1,2,
  2. Anna Giulia Cattaneo1,
  3. Enrico Sabbioni3,
  4. Mario Di Gioacchino3,4,
  5. Maurizio Chiriva-Internati5,
  6. Rosalba Gornati1,2

Published Online: 15 SEP 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470744307.gat240

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

How to Cite

Bernardini, G., Cattaneo, A. G., Sabbioni, E., Di Gioacchino, M., Chiriva-Internati, M. and Gornati, R. 2011. Toxicology of Engineered Metal Nanoparticles. General, Applied and Systems Toxicology. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Insubria, Department of Biotechnology and Molecular Sciences, Varese, Italy

  2. 2

    Polytechnic University of Milan, Centre for Interuniversity Research, Milan, Italy

  3. 3

    G D'Annunzio University Chieti-Pescara, Centre for Aging Sciences, Chieti, Italy

  4. 4

    G D'Annunzio University Chieti-Pescara, Department of Medicine and the Sciences of Aging, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Chieti, Italy

  5. 5

    Texas Tech University, Health Sciences Center, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Lubbock, TX, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2011


The wide interest in nanoscience and nanotechnology leads to an ever-increasing presence of nanomaterials in the environment that in turn may be associated with potentially new and largely undefined risks for the human health and for the environment. We reviewed the experimental data on the ecotoxicology of engineered nanometals following their intentional, unavoidable or accidental dispersion in the environment, together with the benefits of their use for bioremediation. Two potential threats for the human health, the carcinogenic and allergenic risks, have been subsequently evaluated in in vitro and in vivo systems. Lung and skin inflammation and possibly mutagenesis are the mainly documented effects, but the available data remain scarce and fragmentary, and toxicity is shared by both metallic and non-metallic nanomaterials. The conclusive paragraph discusses the use of nanometals in traditional medicine and the development of metal based nanodrugs. A careful evaluation of risks and benefits is mandatory even in this case.


  • allergy;
  • cancer;
  • ecotoxicology;
  • magnetic nanoparticles;
  • nanomedicine;
  • nanotoxicology