Nanoparticles and the immune system

Endocrinology. 2010 Feb;151(2):458-65. doi: 10.1210/en.2009-1082. Epub 2009 Dec 16.


Today nanotechnology is finding growing applications in industry, biology, and medicine. The clear benefits of using nanosized products in various biological and medical applications are often challenged by concerns about the lack of adequate data regarding their toxicity. One area of interest involves the interactions between nanoparticles and the components of the immune system. Nanoparticles can be engineered to either avoid immune system recognition or specifically inhibit or enhance the immune responses. We review herein reported observations on nanoparticle-mediated immunostimulation and immunosuppression, focusing on possible theories regarding how manipulation of particle physicochemical properties can influence their interaction with immune cells to attain desirable immunomodulation and avoid undesirable immunotoxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immune System / immunology*
  • Immunization / methods
  • Immunosuppression Therapy / methods
  • Infections / immunology
  • Liposomes
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Nanotechnology / trends
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Liposomes
  • Polyethylene Glycols