Nanosurface chemistry and dose govern the bioaccumulation and toxicity of carbon nanotubes, metal nanomaterials and quantum dots in vivo

Feng Zhao, Huan Meng, Liang Yan, Bing Wang, Yuliang Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


The chemical and biological mechanisms of life processes mostly consist of multistep and programmed processes at nanoscale levels. Interestingly enough, cell, the basic functional unit and platform that maintains life processes, is composed of various organelles fulfilling sophisticated functions through the precise control on the biomolecules (e.g., proteins, phospholipid, nucleic acid and ions) in a spatial dimension of nanoscale sizes. Thus, understanding of the activities of manufactured nanoscale materials including their interaction with biological systems is of great significance in chemistry, materials science, life science, medicine, environmental science and toxicology. In this brief review, we summarized the recent advances in nanotoxicological chemistry through the dissection of pivotal factors (primarily focusing on dose and nanosurface chemistry) in determining nanomaterial-induced biological/toxic responses with particular emphasis on the nanomaterial bioaccumulation (and interaction organs or target organs) at intact animal level. Due to the volume of manufacture and material application, we deliberately discussed carbon nanotubes, metal/metal oxide nanomaterials and quantum dots, severing as representative material types to illustrate the impact of dose and nanosurface chemistry in these toxicological scenarios. Finally, we have also delineated the grand challenges in this field in a conceptual framework of nanotoxicological chemistry. It is noted that this review is a part of our persistent endeavor of building the systematic knowledge framework for toxicological properties of engineered nanomaterials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-20
Number of pages18
JournalScience Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 9 2015


  • Bioaccumulation
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Metal nanomaterials
  • Quantum dots
  • Targeted organs
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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