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Issue 3, 2011
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Biodistribution and toxicity of engineered gold nanoparticles: a review of in vitro and in vivo studies

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Abstract

Recent advances in wet chemical synthesis and biomolecular functionalization of gold nanoparticles have led to a dramatic expansion of their potential biomedical applications, including biosensorics, bioimaging, photothermal therapy, and targeted drug delivery. As the range of gold nanoparticle types and their applications continues to increase, human safety concerns are gaining attention, which makes it necessary to better understand the potential toxicity hazards of these novel materials. Whereas about 80 reports on the in vivo biodistribution and in vitrocell toxicity of gold nanoparticles are available in the literature, there is lack of correlation between both fields and there is no clear understanding of intrinsic nanoparticle effects. At present, the major obstacle is the significant discrepancy in experimental conditions under which biodistribution and toxicity effects have been evaluated. This critical review presents a detailed analysis of data on the in vitro and in vivo biodistribution and toxicity of most popular gold nanoparticles, including atomic clusters and colloidal particles of diameters from 1 to 200 nm, gold nanoshells, nanorods, and nanowires. Emphasis is placed on the systematization of data over particle types and parameters, particle surface functionalization, animal and cell models, organs examined, doses applied, the type of particle administration and the time of examination, assays for evaluating gold particle toxicity, and methods for determining the gold concentration in organs and distribution of particles over cells. On the basis of a critical analysis of data, we arrive at some general conclusions on key nanoparticle parameters, methods of particle surface modification, and doses administered that determine the type and kinetics of biodistribution and toxicity at cellular and organismal levels (197 references).

Graphical abstract: Biodistribution and toxicity of engineered gold nanoparticles: a review of in vitro and in vivo studies

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Publication details

The article was received on 23 Jun 2010 and first published on 16 Nov 2010


Article type: Critical Review
DOI: 10.1039/C0CS00018C
Citation: Chem. Soc. Rev., 2011,40, 1647-1671
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    Biodistribution and toxicity of engineered gold nanoparticles: a review of in vitro and in vivo studies

    N. Khlebtsov and L. Dykman, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2011, 40, 1647
    DOI: 10.1039/C0CS00018C

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