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Prog Neurobiol. 2009 Feb;87(3):133-70. doi: 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2008.09.009. Epub 2008 Sep 24.

Nanotechnology, nanotoxicology, and neuroscience.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Materials Department, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA.


Nanotechnology, which deals with features as small as a 1 billionth of a meter, began to enter into mainstream physical sciences and engineering some 20 years ago. Recent applications of nanoscience include the use of nanoscale materials in electronics, catalysis, and biomedical research. Among these applications, strong interest has been shown to biological processes such as blood coagulation control and multimodal bioimaging, which has brought about a new and exciting research field called nanobiotechnology. Biotechnology, which itself also dates back approximately 30 years, involves the manipulation of macroscopic biological systems such as cells and mice in order to understand why and how molecular level mechanisms affect specific biological functions, e.g., the role of APP (amyloid precursor protein) in Alzheimer's disease (AD). This review aims (1) to introduce key concepts and materials from nanotechnology to a non-physical sciences community; (2) to introduce several state-of-the-art examples of current nanotechnology that were either constructed for use in biological systems or that can, in time, be utilized for biomedical research; (3) to provide recent excerpts in nanotoxicology and multifunctional nanoparticle systems (MFNPSs); and (4) to propose areas in neuroscience that may benefit from research at the interface of neurobiologically important systems and nanostructured materials.

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