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Your Environment. Your Health.

Semiconducting Properties of Nanoparticles Linked with Oxidative Damage

Andre E. Nel, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles
NIEHS Grants U19ES019528 and R01ES016746


An NIEHS grantee and his colleagues used the semiconducting properties of metal oxide nanoparticles to quickly identify nanoparticles that could cause toxicity in vitro and in vivo. This new method could speed assessment of emerging new nanomaterials and prioritize materials for further study.


The researchers first predicted which of 24 metal oxide nanoparticles might cause cell injury, based on semiconducting properties, and then analyzed all the nanoparticles with a high-throughput assay that assessed oxidative damage to a variety of cell types. In only a few hours, the screen identified oxidative damage from six nanoparticles — the same ones that previously met the researchers' predictive criteria. Animal tests of the 24 metal oxide nanoparticles showed that the same six caused lung inflammation.


Citation: Zhang H, Ji Z, Xia T, Meng H, Low-Kam C, Liu R, Pokhrel S, Lin S, Wang X, Liao YP, Wang M, Li L, Rallo R, Damoiseaux R, Telesca D, Mädler L, Cohen Y, Zink JI, Nel AE. 2012. Use of Metal Oxide Nanoparticle Band Gap To Develop a Predictive Paradigm for Oxidative Stress and Acute Pulmonary Inflammation, ACS Nano 6(5):4349-4368.

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