Nanoparticles, nanotechnology and pulmonary nanotoxicology

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Ferreira, AJ ; Cemlyn-Jones, J ; Robalo-Cordeiro, C (2012)

The recently emergent field of Nanotechnology involves the production and use of structures at the nanoscale. Research at atomic, molecular or macromolecular levels, has led to new materials, systems and structures on a scale consisting of particles less than 100 nm and showing unique and unusual physical, chemical and biological properties, which has enabled new applications in diverse fields, creating a multimillion-dollar high-tech industry. Nanotechnologies have a wide variety of uses from nanomedicine, consumer goods, electronics, communications and computing to environmental applications, efficient energy sources, agriculture, water purification, textiles, and aerospace industry, among many others.The different characteristics of nanoparticles such as size, shape, surface charge, chemical properties, solubility and degree of agglomeration will determine their effects on biological systems and human health, and the likelihood of respiratory hazards. There are a number of new studies about the potential occupational and environmental effects of nanoparticles and general precautionary measures are now fully justified.Adverse respiratory effects include multifocal granulomas, peribronchial inflammation, progressive interstitial fibrosis, chronic inflammatory responses, collagen deposition and oxidative stress.The authors present an overview of the most important studies about respiratory nanotoxicology and the effects of nanoparticles and engineered nanomaterials on the respiratory system. Resumo: O campo recentemente emergente da nanotecnologia envolve a produção e o uso de estruturas em nanoescala. A pesquisa a níveis atómicos, moleculares e macro moleculares conduziu a novos materiais, sistemas e estruturas numa escala constituída por partículas menores que 100 nm, apresentando propriedades físicas, químicas e biológicas únicas e incomuns, o que tem permitido novas aplicações em diversos campos, criando uma indústria de alta tecnologia multimilionária. As nanotecnologias têm uma vasta variedade de usos, desde a nano medicina, bens de consumo, eletrónica, comunicações e informática, até às aplicações ambientais, fontes de eficiência energética, agricultura, purificação de água, têxteis e indústria aeroespacial, entre muitos outros.As diferentes características das nanopartículas, tais como tamanho, forma, carga de superfície, propriedades químicas, solubilidade e grau de aglomeração, determinarão os efeitos sobre os sistemas biológicos e na saúde humana e a probabilidade de riscos respiratórios. Existem alguns novos estudos sobre os potenciais efeitos ocupacionais e ambientais das nanopartículas, sendo totalmente justificadas as medidas gerais de precaução.Os efeitos respiratórios adversos incluem granulomas multifocais, inflamação peribrônquica, fibrose intersticial progressiva, respostas inflamatórias crónicas, deposição de colagénio e stress oxidativo.Os autores apresentam um resumo dos mais importantes estudos sobre nanotoxicologia respiratória e dos efeitos das nanopartículas e dos nanomateriais artificiais sobre o sistema respiratório. Keywords: Nanoparticles, Nanotoxicology, Nanotubes, Fullerenes, Lung, Toxicology, Palavras-chave: Nanopartículas, Nanotoxicologia, Nanotubos, Fulerenos, Pulmão, Toxicologia
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