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Value of phagocyte function screening for immunotoxicity of nanoparticles in vivo

Authors Fröhlich E

Received 18 February 2015

Accepted for publication 18 March 2015

Published 26 May 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 3761—3778

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S83068

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Thomas J Webster


Eleonore Fröhlich

Center for Medical Research, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria

Abstract: Nanoparticles (NPs) present in the environment and in consumer products can cause immunotoxic effects. The immune system is very complex, and in vivo studies are the gold standard for evaluation. Due to the increased amount of NPs that are being developed, cellular screening assays to decrease the amount of NPs that have to be tested in vivo are highly needed. Effects on the unspecific immune system, such as effects on phagocytes, might be suitable for screening for immunotoxicity because these cells mediate unspecific and specific immune responses. They are present at epithelial barriers, in the blood, and in almost all organs. This review summarizes the effects of carbon, metal, and metal oxide NPs used in consumer and medical applications (gold, silver, titanium dioxide, silica dioxide, zinc oxide, and carbon nanotubes) and polystyrene NPs on the immune system. Effects in animal exposures through different routes are compared to the effects on isolated phagocytes. In addition, general problems in the testing of NPs, such as unknown exposure doses, as well as interference with assays are mentioned. NPs appear to induce a specific immunotoxic pattern consisting of the induction of inflammation in normal animals and aggravation of pathologies in disease models. The evaluation of particle action on several phagocyte functions in vitro may provide an indication on the potency of the particles to induce immunotoxicity in vivo. In combination with information on realistic exposure levels, in vitro studies on phagocytes may provide useful information on the health risks of NPs.

Keywords: immunotoxicity, phagocytes, cytokines, respiratory burst, nitric oxide generation, phagocytosis

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