The recent increasing interest in the use of different nanoparticles in biological and medical applications encouraged scientists to analyse their potential impact on biological systems. The biocompatibility analyses of novel materials for medical applications are conducted using quantitative and qualitative techniques collected by the International Standards Organization (ISO). The well-known assays, such as tetrazolium-based assays used for mitochondrial function monitoring, LDH for membrane permeability determination and neutral red uptake (NRU) describing lysosome function, need to be optimised due to specific properties of wide range of nanomaterials. Physicochemical properties of nanoparticles (NPs) such as size, composition, concentration, shape and surface (e.g., charge, coating, aspect ratio), as well as the cell type play a crucial role in determining the nanomaterial toxicity (also uptake pathway(s) of NPs). Different nanomaterials exhibit different cytotoxicity from relatively non-toxic hexagonal boron nitride to rutile TiO2 NPs that induce oxidative DNA damage in the absence of UV light. Finally, the results of the nanomedical analysis can be enriched by holographic microscopy that gives valuable information about the doubling time (DT), cell segmentation, track cell movement and changes in cell morphology. The results can be also completed by phenotype microarrays (PMs) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) techniques that fulfil experimental data.
Part of the book: Cytotoxicity
Hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) is an analogue of graphite called “white graphene.” In the structure of h-BN, B and N atoms substitute C atoms. The boron and nitrogen atoms are linked via strong B-N covalent bonds and form interlocking hexagonal rings. h-BN is used in different areas due to its interesting physical and chemical properties, e.g., in electronics as an insulator and in ceramics, resins, plastics, and paints. Therefore, boron nitride (BN) is also a popular inorganic compound in cosmetic industry (the highest BN concentration up to 25% can be found in eye shadow formulation). It is also widely used in dental cement production (for dental and orthodontic applications). Boron nitride seems to be suitable for biomedical applications; therefore, the cytotoxicity in vitro and in vivo observations of h-BN nanoplates and novel few-layered h-BN-based nanocomposites are still needed. The short-time studies confirm their low cytotoxicity and suggest that BN can be used as a novel drug delivery system; however, medical application needs additional verification in long-term studies.
Part of the book: Biochemical Toxicology