Nanoparticles: friend or foe?
The incorporation of nanoparticles into industrial processes and consumer products has been increasing considerably over the past decade. Human exposure to engineered nanoparticles is therefore also on the increase, but how these particles interact with mammalian organisms is not yet fully understood. One of the primary routes of nanoparticle entry into humans is through inhalation hence, the group’s work is centred on understanding how physicochemical properties of engineered metal oxide nanoparticles correlate with bioreactivity and cytotoxicity in the lung. Do engineered nanoparticles induce an inflammatory response in the lung? Are they toxic to respiratory epithelial cells? If so, by what mechanisms? These are the questions that need to be addressed in order to establish the safe use of engineered nanoparticles.
TEM micrograph of an alveolar type I cell exposed to 15 nm wide gold nanoparticles (25μg/ml; 24 hours). Particles can be seen in two separate, internal vesicles and also clustered on the surface of the cell membrane
- Dr Samir Nuseibeh