Toxicity of Metal Oxide Nanoparticles

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2018:1048:99-122. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-72041-8_7.


In the recent times, nanomaterials are used in many sectors of science, medicine and industry, without revealing its toxic effects. Thus, it is in urgent need for exploring the toxicity along with the application of such useful nanomaterials. Nanomaterials are categorized with a particle size of 1-100 nm. They have gained increasing attention because of their novel properties, including a large specific surface area and high reaction activity. The various fundamental and practical applications of nanomaterials include drug delivery, cell imaging, and cancer therapy. Nanosized semiconductors have their versatile applications in different areas such as catalysts, sensors, photoelectronic devices, highly functional and effective devices etc. Metal oxides contribute in many areas of chemistry, physics and materials science. Mechanism of toxicity of metal oxide nanoparticles can occur by different methods like oxidative stress, co-ordination effects, non-homeostasis effects, genotoxicity and others. Factors that affect the metal oxide nanoparticles were size, dissolution and exposure routes. This chapter will explain elaborately the toxicity of metal oxide nano structures in living beings and their effect in ecosystem.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Cell death mechanisms; Genotoxicity; Metal oxide nanoparticles; Nanoparticle toxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Damage
  • Drug Delivery Systems / adverse effects*
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods
  • Humans
  • Metals / adverse effects*
  • Metals / therapeutic use
  • Nanoparticles / adverse effects*
  • Nanoparticles / therapeutic use
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Oxides / adverse effects*
  • Oxides / therapeutic use
  • Particle Size


  • Metals
  • Oxides