NPs toxicity: towards a general model

S. Sabella, R. Carney, V. Brunetti, M.A. Malvindi, F. Stellacci, P.P. Pompa
Italian Institute of Technology, IT

Keywords: nanobiointeractions, NP physical-chemical properties, nanotoxicology


The assessment of the potential risks exerted by nanoparticles (NPs) represents an open issue worldwide, gathering the attention of the scientific community, as well as of industry and regulatory bodies. Concerns are based on recent observations showing that several NPs are efficiently internalized in cells in which they exert specific toxicity pathways, involving key cellular targets such as mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, lysosomes, proteins and DNA, with consequent oxidative stress, inflammation, and apoptosis 1-4. Though many scientific efforts are attempting to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying NPs toxicity, a general explanation remains elusive so far. In this work, we propose a general explanation for the NPs induced toxicity. By several experiments, we show that the NP internalization mechanisms, the in situ stability, the surface chemistry and coating of NPs and their intracellular fate are key parameters governing their toxicity/biocompatibility. The presented findings are of great interest for the nanoscience and nanomedicine communities as they pave the way towards the design of safer NPs by design, NP categorization on the basis of their properties and biological induced effect thus suggesting useful criteria for future safety guidelines in nanoregulatory.