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Nanotoxicology: A Brief Overview and Discussion of the Current Toxicological Testing In Vitro and Suggestions for Future Research

Systems Toxicology

Nanotechnology

  1. Martin J. D. Clift1,
  2. Fabian Blank2,
  3. Peter Gehr1,
  4. Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser1

Published Online: 15 SEP 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470744307.gat242

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

How to Cite

Clift, M. J. D., Blank, F., Gehr, P. and Rothen-Rutishauser, B. 2011. Nanotoxicology: A Brief Overview and Discussion of the Current Toxicological Testing In Vitro and Suggestions for Future Research. General, Applied and Systems Toxicology. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Institute of Anatomy, University of Bern, Division of Histology, Bern, Switzerland

  2. 2

    University of Bern, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Clinical Research, Bern, Switzerland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2011

Abstract

Nanotechnology is an ever-growing industry that is expected to reach a net worth of over 15 billion by 2015 (Service, 2004). Although there are many proposed advantages related to this new industrial revolution, there are increased concerns regarding the potential adverse health effects that exposure to the production of nanotechnology-related products might pose (Maynard et al., 2006). Although not fully understood or confirmed, these concerns are well founded due to the plethora of research and knowledge related to the effects of environmental air pollution on human health relative to the nanoparticle (NP) component contained within it. Due to the inevitable exposure of humans to NPs, owing to their use in a wide and diverse range of applications, it is imperative to understand how NPs interact with the human body. In vivo research, however, has many disadvantages, and so increased research into the possible adverse effects of NPs has been performed using in vitro models. Therefore, the aim of this chapter is to provide an in-depth description of the many different toxicity tests used in vitro, how they are beneficial in filling the knowledge gap related to the potential toxic effects of NPs and the many pitfalls that are associated with them, in addition to providing an overview of the field of nanotoxicology as well as suggesting how in vitro testing strategies may be used to demonstrate the effects of in vivo exposure to NPs.

Keywords:

  • nanotechnology;
  • nanoparticle;
  • in vitro;
  • in vivo;
  • human health effects;
  • nanotoxicology;
  • environmental air pollution;
  • in vitro toxicology testing