Title: The biological mechanisms and physicochemical characteristics responsible for driving fullerene toxicity
Citation: TOXICOLOGICAL SCIENCES vol. 114 no. 2 p. 162-182
Publication Year: 2010
JRC N┬░: JRC53659
ISSN: 1096-6080
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC53659
DOI: 10.1093/toxsci/kfp265
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: This review provides a comprehensive, critical review of the available literature purporting to assess the toxicity of carbon fullerenes. This is required as prior to the widespread utilisation and production of fullerenes, it is necessary to consider the implications of exposure for human health. Traditionally, fullerenes are formed from 60 carbon atoms, arranged in a spherical, cage-like structure. However, manipulation of surface chemistry, and molecular make-up has created a diverse population of fullerenes, which exhibit drastically different behaviour. The cellular processes that underlie observed fullerene toxicity will be discussed, and includes oxidative, genotoxic, and cytotoxic responses. The antioxidant/cytoprotective properties of fullerenes (and the attributes responsible for driving these phenomena) have been considered, and encourages their utilisation within the treatment of oxidant mediated disease. A number of studies have focussed on improving the water solubility of fullerenes, in order to enable their exploitation within biological systems. Manipulating fullerene water solubility has included the use of surface modifications, solvents, extended stirring, and mechanical processes. However, the ability of these processes to also impact on fullerene toxicity requires assessment, especially when considering the use of solvents, which particularly appear to enhance fullerene toxicity. A number of the discussed investigations were not conducted to reveal if fullerene behaviour was due to their ┬┐nanoparticulate nature, but instead addressed the biocompatibility and toxicity of fullerenes. The hazards to human health, associated with fullerene exposure, are uncertain at this time, and further investigations are required to decipher such effects before an effective risk assessment can be conducted.
JRC Directorate:Institute for Health and Consumer Protection Historical Collection

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