Injected gold nanoparticles distribute all over the body of the animals but most varieties have no toxic effect.


Studies in rats, mice, pigs and fish have shown discrepancies of the toxic effects of different gold nanoparticles. Nevertheless, they distribute all over the body and accumulate to some extent in the liver, spleen, lung, brain, kidney, testis and heart [1]. The gold nanoparticles have been found to be not toxic in zebra fish [2].

As for in vitro experiments the distribution and the effects in whole organisms are strongly dependent on the size of the gold nanoparticles [3-6]. Only the small gold particles (<10 nm) could be found in the brain of animals after injection of a certain dose. 50, 100 and 250 nm gold particles did not reach the brain [3]. This result could be confirmed by other groups [4,6], which clearly demonstrated that after injection or oral administration only the very small particles reached organs like the brain, heart or lungs. Of course after injection the total amount of the administered dose could be found in the body and most of the particles accumulated within the liver. For the large particles more than 99 % were found in the liver, whereas from the smaller particles around 1 % could be found in the brain, heart and uterus [4].


Literature arrow down

  1. Alkilany, AM et al. (2010), J Nanopart Res, 12(7): 2313-2333.
  2. Asharani, PV et al. (2011), Nanotoxicology, 5(1): 43-54.
  3. De Jong, WH et al. (2008), Biomaterials, 29(12): 1912-1919.
  4. Hirn, S et al. (2011), Eur J Pharm Biopharm, 77(3): 407-416.
  5. Myllynen, PK et al. (2008), Reprod Toxicol, 26(2): 130-137.
  6. Schleh, C et al. (2012), Nanotoxicology, 6(1): 36-46.


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