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Mechanistic insight into the impact of nanomaterials on asthma and allergic airway disease

Publication date: 

21 Nov 2017




Meldrum K, Guo C, Marczylo EL, Gant TW, Smith R, Leonard MO.

Publication type: 



Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease known for its high susceptibility to environmental exposure. Inadvertent inhalation of engineered or incidental nanomaterials is a concern for human health, particularly for those with underlying disease susceptibility. In this review we provide a comprehensive analysis of those studies focussed on safety assessment of different nanomaterials and their unique characteristics on asthma and allergic airway disease. These include in vivo and in vitro approaches as well as human and population studies. The weight of evidence presented supports a modifying role for nanomaterial exposure on established asthma as well as the development of the condition. Due to the variability in modelling approaches, nanomaterial characterisation and endpoints used for assessment in these studies, there is insufficient information for how one may assign relative hazard potential to individual nanoscale properties. New developments including the adoption of standardised models and focussed in vitro and in silico approaches have the potential to more reliably identify properties of concern through comparative analysis across robust and select testing systems. Importantly, key to refinement and choice of the most appropriate testing systems is a more complete understanding of how these materials may influence disease at the cellular and molecular level. Detailed mechanistic insight also brings with it opportunities to build important population and exposure susceptibilities into models. Ultimately, such approaches have the potential to more clearly extrapolate relevant toxicological information, which can be used to improve nanomaterial safety assessment for human disease susceptibility.