Nanotechnology involves technology, science, and engineering in dimensions less than 100 nm. A virtually infinite number of potential nanoscale products can be produced from many different molecules and their combinations. The exponentially increasing number of nanoscale products will solve critical needs in engineering, science, and medicine. However, the virtually infinite number of potential nanotechnology products is a challenge for toxicologic pathologists. Because of their size, nanoparticulates can have therapeutic and toxic effects distinct from micron-sized particulates of the same composition. In the nanoscale, distinct intercellular and intracellular translocation pathways may provide a different distribution than that obtained by micron-sized particulates. Nanoparticulates interact with subcellular structures including microtubules, actin filaments, centrosomes, and chromatin; interactions that may be facilitated in the nanoscale. Features that distinguish nanoparticulates from fine particulates include increased surface area per unit mass and quantum effects. In addition, some nanotechnology products, including the fullerenes, have a novel and reactive surface. Augmented microscopic procedures including enhanced dark-field imaging, immunofluorescence, field-emission scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and confocal microscopy are useful when evaluating nanoparticulate toxicologic pathology. Thus, the pathology assessment is facilitated by understanding the unique features at the nanoscale and the tools that can assist in evaluating nanotoxicology studies.
Nanotechnology; Engineering; Molecular-structure; Medical-sciences; Toxicology; Pathology; Therapeutic-agents; Toxic-effects; Particulates;
Author Keywords: toxicologic pathology; mechanisms of toxicity; microscopy techniques; pharmaceutical development/products; risk identification; safety assessment
Ann F. Hubbs, Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1095 Willowdale Rd, Morgantown, WV 26505