Author(s): Utembe, W., Andraos, C., and Gulumian M.

Source: Critical Reviews in Toxicology.

Abstract: The toxicity of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) in vivo and in vitro has formed the basis of most studies. However, the toxicity of ENMs, particularly on the immune system, i.e. immunotoxicity, and their role in manipulating it, are less known. This review addresses the initiation or exacerbation as well as the attenuation of allergic asthma by a variety of ENMs and how they may be used in drug delivery to enhance the treatment of asthma. This review also highlights a few research gaps in the study of the immunotoxicity of ENMs, for example, the potential drawbacks of assays used in immunotoxicity assays; the potential role of hormesis during dosing of ENMs; and the variables that result in discrepancies among different studies, such as the physicochemical properties of ENMs, differences in asthmatic animal models, and different routes of administration.

Keywords: engineered nanomaterials; asthma; immunotoxicity; asthma exacerbation; asthma attenuation