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Nanomaterials (Basel). 2020 Jan 31;10(2). pii: E251. doi: 10.3390/nano10020251.

Genotoxicity of Silver Nanoparticles.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Nutrition, Universidad de Navarra, Irunlarrea 1, 31008 Pamplona, Spain.
Navarra Institute for Health Research (IdiSNA), 31008 Pamplona, Spain.


Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are widely used in diverse sectors such as medicine, food, cosmetics, household items, textiles and electronics. Given the extent of human exposure to AgNPs, information about the toxicological effects of such products is required to ensure their safety. For this reason, we performed a bibliographic review of the genotoxicity studies carried out with AgNPs over the last six years. A total of 43 articles that used well-established standard assays (i.e., in vitro mouse lymphoma assays, in vitro micronucleus tests, in vitro comet assays, in vivo micronucleus tests, in vivo chromosome aberration tests and in vivo comet assays), were selected. The results showed that AgNPs produce genotoxic effects at all DNA damage levels evaluated, in both in vitro and in vivo assays. However, a higher proportion of positive results was obtained in the in vitro studies. Some authors observed that coating and size had an effect on both in vitro and in vivo results. None of the studies included a complete battery of assays, as recommended by ICH and EFSA guidelines, and few of the authors followed OECD guidelines when performing assays. A complete genotoxicological characterization of AgNPs is required for decision-making.


chromosome aberration test; comet assay; genotoxicity; in vitro; in vivo; micronucleus test; mouse lymphoma assay; silver nanoparticles

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