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Journal Articles Revue des Maladies Respiratoires Year : 2009

[Respiratory effects of manufactured nanoparticles.]


Nanotechnology, defined as techniques aimed to design, characterize and produce materials on a nanometer scale, is a fast-growing field today. Nanomaterials are made of nanoobjects (nanoparticles, nanofibers, nanotubes...). The nanoscale confers on these materials their novel, hitherto unknown, chemical and physical properties by the laws of quantum physics which are essentially expressed on this scale. Nanotechnology applications are numerous (e.g., cosmetics, industry and medicine) and they keep growing. We can safely predict that the production and utilization of nanomaterials will increase greatly in the years to come. Nonetheless, the same properties that make these nanomaterials very attractive are a source of concern: there are questions about their potential toxicity, their long-term side effects, and their biodegradability. These questions are based on knowledge of the toxic effects of micrometric particles in air pollution and the fear that these effects will be amplified because of the nanometric size of the new materials. We present in this article a global but not exhaustive summary of current knowledge. We begin by defining lung penetration, deposition, translocation and elimination of nanoparticles. Finally, we consider the respiratory effects of metallic nanoparticles, titanium dioxide nanoparticles in particular, and carbon nanotubes. In vivo and in vitro experimental studies currently available highlight the existence of biological effects of nanoparticles on the respiratory system with generation of oxidative stress, pro-inflammatory and pro-thrombotic effects and the possible development of fibrosis and pulmonary emphysema or DNA damage. A better understanding of the potential biological effects of nanoparticles is required to implement appropriate preventive measures in the workplace and/or in the general population, if this should be necessary.
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Dates and versions

inserm-00411938 , version 1 (31-08-2009)


  • HAL Id : inserm-00411938 , version 1
  • PUBMED : 19623107


Pascal Andujar, Sophie Lanone, Patrick Brochard, Jorge Boczkowski. [Respiratory effects of manufactured nanoparticles.]. Revue des Maladies Respiratoires, 2009, 26 (6), pp.625-37. ⟨inserm-00411938⟩


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