Nanotoxicity overview: Nano-threat to susceptible populations

Yang Li, Yi Zhang, Bing Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Due to the increasing applications of nanomaterials and nanotechnology, potential danger of nanoparticle exposure has become a critical issue. However, recent nanotoxicity studies have mainly focused on the health risks to healthy adult population. The nanotoxicity effects on susceptible populations (such as pregnant, neonate, diseased, and aged populations) have been overlooked. Due to the alterations in physiological structures and functions in susceptible populations, they often suffer more damage from the same exposure. Thus, it is urgent to understand the effects of nanoparticle exposure on these populations. In order to fill this gap, the potential effects of nanoparticles to pregnant females, neonate, diseased, and aged population, as well as the possible underlying mechanisms are reviewed in this article. Investigations show that responses from susceptible population to nanoparticle exposure are often more severe. Reduced protection mechanism, compromised immunity, and impaired self-repair ability in these susceptible populations may contribute to the aggravated toxicity effects. This review will help minimize adverse effects of nanoparticles to susceptible population in future nanotechnology applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3671-3697
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 28 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Aged population
  • Disease
  • Health risk
  • Nanotoxicity
  • Susceptible populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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