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Nanomaterials 2014, 4(2), 454-484; doi:10.3390/nano4020454

Mechanisms Underlying Cytotoxicity Induced by Engineered Nanomaterials: A Review of In Vitro Studies

1 Departamento de Farmácia Industrial, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Santa Maria, RS, 97105-900, Brazil 2 Departament de Fisiologia, Facultat de Farmàcia, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona 08028, Spain 3 Unidad Asociada al CSIC, Barcelona 08028, Spain
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 May 2014 / Revised: 28 May 2014 / Accepted: 3 June 2014 / Published: 12 June 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotoxicology)
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Engineered nanomaterials are emerging functional materials with technologically interesting properties and a wide range of promising applications, such as drug delivery devices, medical imaging and diagnostics, and various other industrial products. However, concerns have been expressed about the risks of such materials and whether they can cause adverse effects. Studies of the potential hazards of nanomaterials have been widely performed using cell models and a range of in vitro approaches. In the present review, we provide a comprehensive and critical literature overview on current in vitro toxicity test methods that have been applied to determine the mechanisms underlying the cytotoxic effects induced by the nanostructures. The small size, surface charge, hydrophobicity and high adsorption capacity of nanomaterial allow for specific interactions within cell membrane and subcellular organelles, which in turn could lead to cytotoxicity through a range of different mechanisms. Finally, aggregating the given information on the relationships of nanomaterial cytotoxic responses with an understanding of its structure and physicochemical properties may promote the design of biologically safe nanostructures.
Keywords: in vitro methods; cytotoxicity; nanomaterials; cell culture; nanosafety in vitro methods; cytotoxicity; nanomaterials; cell culture; nanosafety
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Nogueira, D.R.; Mitjans, M.; Rolim, C.M.; Vinardell, M.P. Mechanisms Underlying Cytotoxicity Induced by Engineered Nanomaterials: A Review of In Vitro Studies. Nanomaterials 2014, 4, 454-484.

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