Nanoparticles and danger signals: Oral delivery vehicles as potential disruptors of intestinal barrier homeostasis

J Leukoc Biol. 2019 Jul;106(1):95-103. doi: 10.1002/JLB.3MIR1118-414RR. Epub 2019 Mar 29.


Gut immune system homeostasis involves diverse structural interactions among resident microbiota, the protective mucus layer, and a variety of cells (intestinal epithelial, lymphoid, and myeloid). Due to the substantial surface area in direct contact with an "external" environment and the diversity of xenobiotic, abiotic, and self-interactions coordinating to maintain gut homeostasis, there is enhanced potential for the generation of endogenous danger signals when this balance is lost. Here, we focus on the potential generation and reception of damage in the gut resulting from exposure to nanoparticles (NPs), common food and drug additives. Specifically, we describe recent evidence in the literature showing that certain NPs are potential generators of damage-associated molecular patterns, as well as potential immune-stimulating molecular patterns themselves.

Keywords: ATP; DAMP; NAMP; NLRP3; Nanoparticles; mtDNA.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Administration, Oral
  • Alarmins / physiology*
  • Animals
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / physiology
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein / physiology
  • Nanoparticles / metabolism
  • Nanoparticles / toxicity*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects


  • Alarmins
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein
  • Adenosine Triphosphate