Nanotechnology: Environmental and Human Health Impacts

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Resource or Project Abstract

Neurodegenerative diseases currently affect over 1.6% of the European population, with dramatically rising incidence that is likely (in part) due to the increase in the average age of the population. There are persistent claims, based on the epidemiology, that pollution may be a cofactor in Alzheimer's disease, although the evidence is controversial. The risk that engineered nanoparticles could introduce unforeseen hazards to human health is now a matter of deep and growing concern in regulatory bodies, governments and industry. However, at present there is only circumstantial evidence that nanoparticles could impact on such diseases. The 'bloodbrain barrier' (BBB) is a protective mechanism that separates the bloodstream from brain tissue while allowing passage of essential nutrients to the brain. Due to their small size and large surface area that is rapidly coated with proteins, which thereby confer on them a biological identity, nanoparticles have unique access to the cellular machinery and can potentially cross biological barriers such as the BBB, offering extraordinary hope for treatment of diseases such as HIV and Alzheimer?s disease, but also raising significant concerns regarding their safety. This report presents the work of an EPA STRIVE Fellowship of almost 2 years that aimed to establish and validate an in vitro model for assessment of the human BBB, and to use this to screen nanoparticle transport through the BBB and correlate nanoparticle access to the brain with the nanoparticle physico-chemical characteristics and their protein corona. Specifically, the project intended to develop a rational framework within which to understand which properties of nanoparticles lead to them reaching the brain, and the mechanism(s) by which nanoparticles cross the BBB. Based on the large quantity of uptake and localisation data generated within the project, a preliminary risk assessment of the potential for silicon dioxide (SiO2) nanoparticles to induce neurotoxicity was performed. The low potential of the SiO2 nanoparticles to reach the brain via the BBB (less than 5% of the applied dose of 50 nm SiO2 nanoparticles was transcytosed in 4 hours), coupled with the low hazard of these nanoparticles (no cytotoxicity observed at 100 g/mL after 48 hours of exposure), implies a very limited potential for these nanoparticles to induce neurotoxicity. However, these are only very short-term acute exposure tests, and additional longer-term, chronic and repeat-dose experiments are required urgently. The recommendations of the report for policy makers include the need to consider nanomaterials as biological entities as distinct from chemicals, and as such to develop a strategy to monitor the likely environmental exposure to nanomaterials, and to fund additional research into the environmental and human health impacts of nanomaterials.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. Michelle Nic Raghnaill
University College Dublin
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Centre for BioNano Interactions, School of Chemistry & Chemical Biology and UCD Conway Institute, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
Telephone: +353 1 716 6928
e-mail: michelle.nicraghnaill@cbni.ucd.ie

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Attachment Name and Download Link
Offline Print Quality Version    STRIVE_79_NicRaghnaill_Nanotechnology_prn.pdf  (5.72 Mb)
Project Report Optimised For Online Viewing    STRIVE_79_NicRaghnaill_Nanotechnology_web.pdf  (1.99 Mb)

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Author(s)Raghnaill, N.M.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationNanotechnology: Environmental and Human Health Impacts
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL http://erc.epa.ie/safer/resource?id=aae85058-6b03-102f-8c70-b53a025bc1b8
Unique Identifieraae85058-6b03-102f-8c70-b53a025bc1b8
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2017-08-24

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Raghnaill, N.M.   "Nanotechnology: Environmental and Human Health Impacts". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland http://erc.epa.ie/safer/resource?id=aae85058-6b03-102f-8c70-b53a025bc1b8 (Last Accessed: 2017-08-24)

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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL http://erc.epa.ie/safer/iso19115/display?isoID=244
Resource KeywordsNeurodegenerative diseases bloodbrain barrier Alzheimer Nanotechnology Health
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2007-FS-EH-7-M5-2
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeEnvironmental Technologies
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Public-Open
Limitations on the use of this ResourceAny attached datasets, data files, or information objects can be downloaded for further use in scientific applications under the condition that the source is properly quoted and cited in published papers, journals, websites, presentations, books, etc. Before downloading, users must agree to the "Conditions of Download and Access" from SAFER-Data. These appear before download. Users of the data should also communicate with the original authors/owners of this resource if they are uncertain about any aspect of the data or information provided before further usage.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 2
Project Start Date Monday 1st January 2007 (01-01-2007)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Monday 1st January 2007 (01-01-2007)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Thursday 30th December 2010 (30-12-2010)
Published on SAFERMonday 28th November 2011 (28-11-2011)
Date of Last EditMonday 28th November 2011 at 11:19:19 (28-11-2011)
Datasets or Files Updated On Monday 28th November 2011 at 11:17:39 (28-11-2011)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
This was laboratory/desk-based and therefore has no geographical extent.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
The aim of the project was to develop a rational framework within which to understand which properties of nanoparticles lead to them reaching the brain (e.g. surface area, surface composition, shape, etc.), and the mechanism(s) by which nanoparticles cross the BBB. Specifically, the project intended to establish and validate an in vitro (cell culture) model of the human BBB, and to use this to screen nanoparticle transport through the BBB and correlate nanoparticle access to the brain with the nanoparticle physico-chemical characteristics and their protein corona compositions. It was intended to focus on nanoparticles that were of immediate environmental importance, such as cerium oxide nanoparticles (which are already in use as fuel additives in Turkey) and carbon nanotubes (which are in kilogram scale production in several sites worldwide), as well as model polymeric particles whose surface characteristics can be controlled and modified extensively, thereby offering exceptional versatility and a unique opportunity to conduct a systematic study and produce much-needed scientific data to address this Neurodegenerative diseases currently affect over 1.6% of the European population (Alzheimer Europe, 2006), with dramatically rising incidence that is likely (in part) due to the increase of the average age of the population. This is a major concern for all industrialised societies, including Ireland. Data from the Alzheimer?s Society of Ireland indicates that dementia affects almost 44,000 people and touches the lives of 50,000 carers and hundreds of thousands of family members in Ireland, with Alzheimer?s disease accounting for 66% of all cases of dementia. Estimates suggest that within 20 years the numbers of people affected will double, and by 2036 some 104,000 people will be affected. By 2036, the number of people with dementia in Ireland is expected to increase by 300%, while the total population is likely to increase by less than 40%. issue.
Supplementary Information
The following were co-authors of this report:


1. Mattia Bramini
Centre for BioNano Interactions
School of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
and
UCD Conway Institute

2. Meredith Brown
School of Agriculture, Food Science & Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary Science Centre
University College Dublin

3. Kenneth Dawson
Centre for BioNano Interactions
School of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
and
UCD Conway Institute

4. Dong Ye
Centre for BioNano Interactions
School of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
and
UCD Conway Institute


5. Iseult Lynch
Centre for BioNano Interactions
School of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
and
UCD Conway Institute
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