Organization of research team for nano-associated safety assessment in effort to study nanotoxicology of zinc oxide and silica nanoparticles

Yu Ri Kim, Sung Ha Park, Jong Kwon Lee, Jayoung Jeong, Ja Hei Kim, Eun Ho Meang, Tae Hyun Yoon, Seok Tae Lim, Jae Min Oh, Seong Soo A. An, Meyoung Kon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Currently, products made with nanomaterials are used widely, especially in biology, biotechnologies, and medical areas. However, limited investigations on potential toxicities of nanomaterials are available. Hence, diverse and systemic toxicological data with new methods for nanomaterials are needed. In order to investigate the nanotoxicology of nanoparticles (NPs), the Research Team for Nano-Associated Safety Assessment (RT-NASA) was organized in three parts and launched. Each part focused on different contents of research directions: investigators in part I were responsible for the efficient management and international cooperation on nano-safety studies; investigators in part II performed the toxicity evaluations on target organs such as assessment of genotoxicity, immunotoxicity, or skin penetration; and investigators in part III evaluated the toxicokinetics of NPs with newly developed techniques for toxicokinetic analyses and methods for estimating nanotoxicity. The RT-NASA study was carried out in six steps: need assessment, physicochemical property, toxicity evaluation, toxicokinetics, peer review, and risk communication. During the need assessment step, consumer responses were analyzed based on sex, age, education level, and household income. Different sizes of zinc oxide and silica NPs were purchased and coated with citrate, L-serine, and L-arginine in order to modify surface charges (eight different NPs), and each of the NPs were characterized by various techniques, for example, zeta potentials, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Evaluation of the “no observed adverse effect level” and systemic toxicities of all NPs were performed by thorough evaluation steps and the toxicokinetics step, which included in vivo studies with zinc oxide and silica NPs. A peer review committee was organized to evaluate and verify the reliability of toxicity tests, and the risk communication step was also needed to convey the current findings to academia, industry, and consumers. Several limitations were encountered in the RT-NASA project, and they are discussed for consideration for improvements in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Nanomedicine
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec 15
Externally publishedYes


  • Nanomaterials
  • Nanotoxicity
  • Peer review
  • Physicochemical property
  • Toxicokinetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry


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