Next Article in Journal / Special Issue
Biological Effects of Clinically Relevant CoCr Nanoparticles in the Dura Mater: An Organ Culture Study
Previous Article in Journal / Special Issue
Assessment of the Aerosol Generation and Toxicity of Carbon Nanotubes
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessReview
Nanomaterials 2014, 4(2), 454-484;

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

Departamento de Farmácia Industrial, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Santa Maria, RS, 97105-900, Brazil
Departament de Fisiologia, Facultat de Farmàcia, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona 08028, Spain
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)
Full-Text   |   PDF [2369 KB, uploaded 12 June 2014]   |  


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. View Full-Text
Keywords: in vitro methods; cytotoxicity; nanomaterials; cell culture; nanosafety in vitro methods; cytotoxicity; nanomaterials; cell culture; nanosafety

Graphical abstract

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

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.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Nanomaterials EISSN 2079-4991 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top