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Organization of research team for nano-associated safety assessment in effort to study nanotoxicology of zinc oxide and silica nanoparticles

Authors Kim Y, Park SH, Lee JK, Jeong J, Kim J, Meang E, Yoon TH, Lim ST, Oh J, An SSA, Kim M

Received 20 November 2013

Accepted for publication 29 January 2014

Published 15 December 2014 Volume 2014:9(Supplement 2) Pages 3—10


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Yu-Ri Kim,1,* Sung Ha Park,2,* Jong-Kwon Lee,3 Jayoung Jeong,3 Ja Hei Kim,4 Eun-Ho Meang,5 Tae Hyun Yoon,6 Seok Tae Lim,7 Jae-Min Oh,8 Seong Soo A An,9 Meyoung-Kon Kim1

1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Korea University Medical School and College, Seoul, South Korea; 2Department of Biochemistry, University of Bath, Bath, UK; 3Toxicological Research Division, National Institute of Food and Drug Safety Evaluation, Chungchungbuk-do, 4Consumers Korea, Chongro-ku, 5General toxicology team, Korea Testing and Research Institute, 6Laboratory of Nanoscale Characterization and Environmental Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, College of Natural Sciences, Hanyang University, Seoul, 7Department of Nuclear Medicine, Chonbuk National University Medical School, Jeonju, Jellabuk-Do, 8Department of Chemistry and Medical Chemistry, College of Science and Technology, Yonsei University, Gangwon-do, 9Department of Bionanotechnology, Gachon Medical Research Institute, Gachon University, Seongnam, South Korea

*Authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Currently, products made with nanomaterials are used widely, especially in biology, biotechnologies, and medical areas. However, limited investigations on potential toxicities of nanomaterials are available. Hence, diverse and systemic toxicological data with new methods for nanomaterials are needed. In order to investigate the nanotoxicology of nanoparticles (NPs), the Research Team for Nano-Associated Safety Assessment (RT-NASA) was organized in three parts and launched. Each part focused on different contents of research directions: investigators in part I were responsible for the efficient management and international cooperation on nano-safety studies; investigators in part II performed the toxicity evaluations on target organs such as assessment of genotoxicity, immunotoxicity, or skin penetration; and investigators in part III evaluated the toxicokinetics of NPs with newly developed techniques for toxicokinetic analyses and methods for estimating nanotoxicity. The RT-NASA study was carried out in six steps: need assessment, physicochemical property, toxicity evaluation, toxicokinetics, peer review, and risk communication. During the need assessment step, consumer responses were analyzed based on sex, age, education level, and household income. Different sizes of zinc oxide and silica NPs were purchased and coated with citrate, L-serine, and L-arginine in order to modify surface charges (eight different NPs), and each of the NPs were characterized by various techniques, for example, zeta potentials, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Evaluation of the “no observed adverse effect level” and systemic toxicities of all NPs were performed by thorough evaluation steps and the toxicokinetics step, which included in vivo studies with zinc oxide and silica NPs. A peer review committee was organized to evaluate and verify the reliability of toxicity tests, and the risk communication step was also needed to convey the current findings to academia, industry, and consumers. Several limitations were encountered in the RT-NASA project, and they are discussed for consideration for improvements in future studies.

Keywords: nanomaterials, nanotoxicity, toxicokinetics, physicochemical property, peer review

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