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Engineered nanomaterial uptake and tissue distribution: from cell to organism

Authors Kettiger H, Schipanski A, Wick P, Huwyler J

Received 12 June 2013

Accepted for publication 20 July 2013

Published 27 August 2013 Volume 2013:8(1) Pages 3255—3269


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Helene Kettiger,1,* Angela Schipanski,2,* Peter Wick,2 Jörg Huwyler1

1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Division of Pharmaceutical Technology, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland; 2Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Laboratory for Materials-Biology Interactions, St Gallen, Switzerland

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Improved understanding of interactions between nanoparticles and biological systems is needed to develop safety standards and to design new generations of nanomaterials. This article reviews the molecular mechanisms of cellular uptake of engineered nanoparticles, their intracellular fate, and their distribution within an organism. We have reviewed the available literature on the uptake and disposition of engineered nanoparticles. Special emphasis was placed on the analysis of experimental systems and their limitations with respect to their usefulness to predict the in vivo situation. The available literature confirms the need to study particle characteristics in an environment that simulates the situation encountered in biological systems. Phenomena such as protein binding and opsonization are of prime importance since they may have a strong impact on cellular internalization, biodistribution, and immunogenicity of nanoparticles in vitro and in vivo. Extrapolation from in vitro results to the in vivo situation in the whole organism remains a challenge. However, improved understanding of physicochemical properties of engineered nanoparticles and their influence on biological systems facilitates the design of nanomaterials that are safe, well tolerated, and suitable for diagnostic or therapeutic use in humans.

Keywords: biodistribution, cellular transport, cellular uptake, endocytosis, engineered nanomaterials, nanosafety

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