Nanogold – Biological effects and occupational exposure levels
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Instytut Medycyny Pracy im. prof. J. Nofera / Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland (Zakład Bezpieczeństwa Chemicznego / Department of Chemical Safety)
Online publication date: 2017-05-09
Corresponding author
Anna Maria Świdwińska-Gajewska   

Instytut Medycyny Pracy im. prof. J. Nofera, Zakład Bezpieczeństwa Chemicznego, ul. św. Teresy 8, 91-348 Łódź
Med Pr Work Health Saf. 2017;68(4):545-56
Nanogold has different properties and biological activity compared to metallic gold. It can be applied in many fields, such as medicine, laboratory diagnostics and electronics. Studies on laboratory animals show that nanogold can be absorbed by inhalation and ingestion. It can penetrate deep into the epidermis and dermis, but there is no evidence that it is absorbed through the skin. Gold nanoobjects accumulate mainly in the liver and spleen, but they can also reach other internal organs. Nanogold can cross the blood–brain and blood–placenta barriers. Toxicokinetics of nanogold depends on the particle size, shape and surface charge. In animals exposure to gold nanoparticles via inhalation induces slight changes in the lungs. Exposure to nanogold by the oral route does not cause adverse health effects in rodents. In animals after injection of gold nanoobjects changes in the liver and lungs were observed. Nanogold induced genotoxic effects in cells, but not in animals. No adverse effects on the fetus or reproduction were found. There are no carcinogenicity studies on gold nanoparticles. The mechanism of toxicity may be related to the interaction of gold nanoobjects with proteins and DNA, and it leads to the induction of oxidative stress and genetic material damage. The impact of nanostructures on human health has not yet been fully understood. The person, who works with nanomaterials should exercise extreme caution and apply existing recommendations on the evaluation of nanoobjects exposure. The risk assessment should be the basis for taking appropriate measures to limit potential exposure to nanometals, including nanogold. Med Pr 2017;68(4):545–556
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