In recent years, nanoparticles have been increasingly used in several industrial, consumer and medical applications because of their unique physico-chemical properties. However, in vitro
and in vivo
studies have demonstrated that these properties are also closely associated with detrimental health effects. There is a serious lack of information on the potential nanoparticle hazard to human health, particularly on their possible toxic effects on the endocrine system. This topic is of primary importance since the disruption of endocrine functions is associated with severe adverse effects on human health. Consequently, in order to gather information on the hazardous effects of nanoparticles on endocrine organs, we reviewed the data available in the literature regarding the endocrine effects of in vitro
and in vivo
exposure to different types of nanoparticles. Our aim was to understand the potential endocrine disrupting risks posed by nanoparticles, to assess their underlying mechanisms of action and identify areas in which further investigation is needed in order to obtain a deeper understanding of the role of nanoparticles as endocrine disruptors. Current data support the notion that different types of nanoparticles are capable of altering the normal and physiological activity of the endocrine system. However, a critical evaluation of these findings suggests the need to interpret these results with caution since information on potential endocrine interactions and the toxicity of nanoparticles is quite limited.