Where do nanomaterials go in the body?

November 2, 2009

Tiny, engineered nanomaterials can already be found in many consumer products, and have been hailed as having widespread future uses in areas ranging from medicine to industrial processes. However, little is known about what happens if these nanomaterials get into your body - where do they go? NC State researchers are working to answer that question under a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"There has been a great deal of research into the use of manufactured carbon nanomaterials in various products, but there are still a lot of questions about how these materials will interact with biological systems," says Dr. Nancy Monteiro-Riviere, a professor of investigative dermatology and toxicology at the Center for Chemical Research and Pharmacokinetics at NC State and lead investigator of the study. "There is a crucial need to understand how these manufactured carbon nanomaterials will act once they are in the - particularly where environmental or occupational exposure can occur."

The two-year research project, which is being funded by NIH at approximately $658,000, has several specific goals. First, the researchers will determine how and whether the size and surface charge of four fullerenes - or specifically shaped carbon nanoparticles - effects how the fullerenes interact with the body. "Our is that the size and charge of these fullerenes will dictate how the nanoparticles are absorbed by the body, how they are distributed within the body, how the body metabolizes the nanoparticles and - ultimately - how and whether the body can eliminate the nanoparticles," says Monteiro-Riviere.

A second goal is to determine how fullerene size and surface charge affect the distribution of the nanoparticles in the body's organs and plasma, when the fullerenes are injected intravenously. This component of the study will be performed in animal models that are well understood, and where the findings can then be extrapolated to humans. Researchers will also identify any adverse health effects resulting from acute exposure to the nanomaterials.

Finally, the researchers will assess how the body absorbs fullerenes when exposed to the nanomaterials orally or through abraded skin - two routes of exposure that are particularly relevant to real-world scenarios, such as exposure in the workplace.

"The work being done in this project will not only improve our understanding of how nanomaterials behave in the body, but will also help us identify in vitro assays, which can be performed in a laboratory, that predict how the will behave in the body," says Monteiro-Riviere.

Source: North Carolina State University (news : web)

Explore further: EPA wants nanotechnology studied

Related Stories

EPA wants nanotechnology studied

March 16, 2006

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded grants worth $5 billion Thursday for a study of the health and environmental effects of nanotechnology.

New ORNL process brings nanoparticles into focus

June 23, 2008

Scientists can study the biological impacts of engineered nanomaterials on cells within the body with greater resolution than ever because of a procedure developed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National ...

Nanoparticles trigger cell death?

November 13, 2008

Nanoparticles that are one milliard of a metre in size are widely used, for example, in cosmetics and food packaging materials. There are also significant amounts of nanoparticles in exhaust emissions. However, very little ...

Recommended for you

Electrical circuit made of gel can repair itself

August 25, 2015

(Phys.org)—Scientists have fabricated a flexible electrical circuit that, when cut into two pieces, can repair itself and fully restore its original conductivity. The circuit is made of a new gel that possesses a combination ...

Scientists grow high-quality graphene from tea tree extract

August 21, 2015

(Phys.org)—Graphene has been grown from materials as diverse as plastic, cockroaches, Girl Scout cookies, and dog feces, and can theoretically be grown from any carbon source. However, scientists are still looking for a ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

abhiGHAJINI
not rated yet Nov 06, 2009
yup this is a very gud research on a right matter however Nano technology is the future.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.