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Methods Mol Biol. 2013;1028:47-74. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-475-3_4.

Toxicity of novel nanosized formulations used in medicine.

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Biochemistry Department, Science College, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Nanotechnology involves the creation and manipulation of materials at nanoscale levels (1-100 nm) to create products that exhibit novel properties. While this motivation has driven nanoscience and technology in physics and engineering, it is not the main reason that nanoparticles are useful for systemic applications in the human body. The application of nanotechnology to medicine, known as nanomedicine, concerns the use of precisely engineered materials at this length scale to develop novel therapeutic and diagnostic modalities. A number of nanotherapeutic formulations are already approved for medical use and more are in the approval pipeline currently. This chapter is intended to provide an overview of the toxicity of these therapeutic nanoparticles and to summarize the current state of the field. We begin with background on the sources of exposure to nanoparticles, followed by reviewing different forms of nanosized therapeutic tools as quantum dots, nanoshells, nanocapsules, echogenic bubble, and "nanoshuttles." Moreover, cytotoxic effects of nanoparticles on cell membrane, mitochondrial function, prooxidant/antioxidant status, enzyme leakage, DNA, and other biochemical endpoints were elucidated. We highlight the need for caution during the use and disposal of such manufactured nanomaterials to prevent unintended environmental impacts. Moreover, different strategies which could be used to minimize or eliminate nanotoxicity were also discussed in detail. Understanding of how to tune size and surface properties to provide safety will permit the creation of new, more effective nanomedicines for systemic use.

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