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The Bio-corona And Its Impact On Nanomaterial Toxicity

Dana Westmeier, Chunying Chen, Roland H. Stauber, Dominic Docter

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AbstractThe rapidly growing application of nano-sized materials and nano-scaled processes will result in increased exposure of humans and the environment. The small size of nanomaterials (NM) comparable with molecular building blocks of cells raises concerns that their toxic potential cannot be extrapolated from studies of larger particles due to their unique physico-chemical properties. These properties are also responsible that NM rapidly adsorb various (bio)molecules when introduced into complex physiological or natural environments. As the thus formed protein/biomolecule ‘corona’ seems to affect the NM’ in situ identity, an understanding of its toxicological relevance and the biophysical forces regulating corona formation is needed but not yet achieved. This review introduces our current concept of corona formation and evolution and present analytical methods for corona profiling. We discuss toxicity mechanisms potentially affected by the biomolecule corona, including NM cellular uptake and impact on components of the blood system. Further, we comment on pending knowledge gaps and challenges, which need to be resolved by the field. We conclude by presenting a tiered systems biology-driven approach recommended to mechanistically understand the coronas’ nanotoxicological relevance and predictive potential.