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Dysfunction of various organelles provokes multiple cell death after quantum dot exposure

Authors Wang Y, Tang M

Received 15 November 2017

Accepted for publication 12 January 2018

Published 7 May 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 2729—2742

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S157135

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Govarthanan Muthusamy

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Linlin Sun


Yan Wang,1,2 Meng Tang1,2

1Key Laboratory of Environmental Medicine Engineering of Ministry of Education, School of Public Health & Collaborative Innovation Center of Suzhou Nano Science and Technology, Southeast University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, People’s Republic of China; 2Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Biomaterials and Devices, Southeast University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, People’s Republic of China


Abstract: Quantum dots (QDs) are different from the materials with the micrometer scale. Owing to the superiority in fluorescence and optical stability, QDs act as possible diagnostic and therapeutic tools for application in biomedical field. However, potential threats of QDs to human health hamper their wide utilization in life sciences. It has been reported that oxidative stress and inflammation are involved in toxicity caused by QDs. Recently, accumulating research unveiled that disturbance of subcellular structures plays a magnificent role in cytotoxicity of QDs. Diverse organelles would collapse during QD treatment, including DNA damage, endoplasmic reticulum stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and lysosomal rupture. Different forms of cellular end points on the basis of recent research have been concluded. Apart from apoptosis and autophagy, a new form of cell death termed pyroptosis, which is finely orchestrated by inflammasome complex and gasdermin family with secretion of interleukin-1 beta and interleukin-18, was also summarized. Finally, several potential cellular signaling pathways were also listed. Activation of Toll-like receptor-4/myeloid differentiation primary response 88, nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells and NACHT, LRR and PYD domains-containing protein 3 inflammasome pathways by QD exposure is associated with regulation of cellular processes. With the development of QDs, toxicity evaluation is far behind its development, where specific mechanisms of toxic effects are not clearly defined. Further studies concerned with this promising area are urgently required.

Keywords: quantum dot (QD), autophagy, pyroptosis, inflammasome, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, lysosomal rupture

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