Silver nanoparticles – allies or adversaries?
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Centre for Radiobiology and Biological Dosimetry, Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology, Warsaw, Poland
Jan Kochanowski University, Kielce, Poland
Independent Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Corresponding author
Irena Szumiel   

Centre for Radiobiology and Biological Dosimetry, Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology, Warsaw, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2013;20(1):48-54
Nanoparticles (NP) are structures with at least one dimension of less than 100 nanometers (nm) and unique properties. Silver nanoparticles (AgNP), due to their bactericidal action, have found practical applications in medicine, cosmetics, textiles, electronics, and other fields. Nevertheless, their less advantageous properties which make AgNP potentially harmful to public health or the environment should also be taken into consideration. These nanoparticles are cyto- and genotoxic and accumulate in the environment, where their antibacterial properties may be disadvantageous for agriculture and waste management. The presented study reviews data concerning the biological effects of AgNP in mammalian cells in vitro: cellular uptake and excretion, localization in cellular compartments, cytotoxicity and genotoxicity. The mechanism of nanoparticle action consists on induction of the oxidative stress resulting in a further ROS generation, DNA damage and activation of signaling leading to various, cell type-specific pathways to inflammation, apoptotic or necrotic death. In order to assure a safe application of AgNP, further detailed studies are needed on the mechanisms of the action of AgNP on mammalian cells at the molecular level.
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