Dissolution test for risk assessment of nanoparticles: a pilot study
Worldwide efforts are currently trying to produce effective risk assessment models for orally ingested nanoparticles. These tests should provide quantitative information on the bioaccessibility and bioavailability of products of biotransformation, such as dissolved ionic species and/or aggregates. In vitro dissolution tests might be useful for nanoparticle risk assessment, because of their potential to quantitatively monitor the changes of specific properties (e.g., dissolution, agglomeration, etc.), which are critical factors linked to bioaccessibility/bioavailability. Unfortunately, the technological advancement of such tools is currently hampered by the complexity and evolving nature of nanoparticle properties that are strongly influenced by the environment and are often difficult to trace in a standardized manner. Hence, the test's success depends on its ability to quantify such properties using standardized experimental conditions to mimic reality as closely as possible. Here we applied an in vitro dissolution test to quantify the dissolution of silver nanoparticles under dynamic conditions, which likely occur in human digestion, providing a clear description of the bioaccessible ionic species (free and matrix bound ions or soluble silver organic or inorganic complexes) occurring during the different digestion phases. We demonstrated the test feasibility using a multi-technique approach and following pre-standardized operational procedures to allow for a comprehensive description of the process as a whole. Moreover, this can favour data reliability for benchmarking. Finally, we showed how the estimated values of the bioaccessible ionic species relate to absorption and excretion parameters, as measured in vivo. The outcomes presented in this work highlight the potential regulatory role of the dissolution test for orally ingested nanoparticles and, although preliminary, experimentally demonstrate the regulatory oriented “read-across” principle.