Hepatotoxicity induced by nanomaterials: mechanisms and in vitro models

Vânia Vilas-Boas, Mathieu Vinken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


The unique physicochemical properties of materials at nanoscale have opened a plethora of opportunities for applications in the pharmaceutical and medical field, but also in consumer products from food and cosmetics industries. As a consequence, daily human exposure to nanomaterials through distinct routes is considerable and, therefore, may raise health concerns. Many nanomaterials have been described to accumulate and induce adversity in the liver. Among these, silica and some types of metallic nanoparticles are the most broadly used in consumer products and, therefore, the most studied and reported. The reviewed literature was collected from PubMed.gov during the month of March 2020 using the search words “nanomaterials induced hepatotoxicity”, which yielded 181 papers. This present paper reviews the hepatotoxic effects of nanomaterials described in in vitro and in vivo studies, with emphasis on the underlying mechanisms. The induction of oxidative stress and inflammation are the manifestations of toxicity most frequently reported following exposure of cells or animal models to different nanomaterials. Furthermore, the available in vitro models for the evaluation of the hepatotoxic effects of nanomaterials are discussed, highlighting the continuous interest in the development of more advanced and reliable in vitro models for nanotoxicology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-52
Number of pages25
JournalArchives of Toxicology
Issue number1
Early online date6 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021


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