Engineered nanomaterials: an emerging class of novel endocrine disruptors

Biol Reprod. 2014 Jul;91(1):20. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.113.116244. Epub 2014 Jun 4.


Over the past decade, engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) have garnered great attention for their potentially beneficial applications in medicine, industry, and consumer products due to their advantageous physicochemical properties and inherent size. However, studies have shown that these sophisticated molecules can initiate toxicity at the subcellular, cellular, and/or tissue/organ level in diverse experimental models. Investigators have also demonstrated that, upon exposure to ENMs, the physicochemical properties that are exploited for public benefit may mediate adverse endocrine-disrupting effects on several endpoints of mammalian reproductive physiology (e.g., steroidogenesis, spermatogenesis, pregnancy). Elucidating these complex interactions within reproductive cells and tissues will significantly advance our understanding of ENMs as an emerging class of novel endocrine disruptors and reproductive toxicants. Herein we reviewed the recent developments in reproductive nanotoxicology and identified the gaps in our knowledge that may serve as future research directions to foster continued advancement in this evolving field of study.

Keywords: endocrine disruptors; engineered nanomaterials; nanotoxicology; reproduction; steroidogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endocrine Disruptors / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Fertility / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nanostructures / toxicity*
  • Reproduction / drug effects*


  • Endocrine Disruptors