A tremendous interest to use nanomaterials for medical diagnosis and therapeutic purposes has increased in the past few years. Although a lot of investigations focus on the use of nanoparticles (NPs) for drug delivery in cancer therapies, there are several studies investigating the potential use of NPs as carriers to detect allergies or to alleviate inflammatory symptoms. However, although this represents a very interesting interest and a potential avenue to use nanodrug systems, there are some potential toxic risks. For example, cytotoxicity, oxidative stress, genotoxicity, and inflammation have been reported both in in vitro and in vivo models for testing NPs. In addition to medicine, a variety of other sectors, including electronics, cosmetics, aerospace, textile industries, and even in food, used NPs. Consequently, the probability of human exposure to NPs has risen, leading to the possibility that NPs may reach the blood circulation and interact with immune blood cells. Therefore, it is crucial to evaluate the risk that NPs represent to human health. In different studies using in vivo models of inflammation, especially those investigating airway NP exposure, an increased number of leukocytes, mainly neutrophils, in the lungs and bronchoalveolar lavages have been reported. In fact, neutrophil counts are used as biomarkers of inflammation. Despite this and knowing that neutrophils are key player cells in inflammation, it is intriguing that few nanotoxicology studies have focused on how NPs can directly alter the biology of these cells. However, an increasing amount of studies, including some from my laboratory, demonstrate that NPs can activate human neutrophils by different manners in vitro and can attract them or not in vivo. The focus of this review will be to cover this new area of research.
Part of the book: Nanomaterials