Health impact of silver nanoparticles: A review of the biodistribution and toxicity following various routes of exposure

Zannatul Ferdous, Abderrahim Nemmar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

591 Citations (Scopus)


Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) have gained huge importance in technological advancements over the past few years. Among the various ENMs, silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) have become one of the most explored nanotechnology-derived nanostructures and have been intensively investigated for their unique physicochemical properties. The widespread commercial and biomedical application of nanosilver include its use as a catalyst and an optical receptor in cosmetics, electronics and textile engineering, as a bactericidal agent, and in wound dressings, surgical instruments, and disinfectants. This, in turn, has increased the potential for interactions of AgNPs with terrestrial and aquatic environments, as well as potential exposure and toxicity to human health. In the present review, after giving an overview of ENMs, we discuss the current advances on the physiochemical properties of AgNPs with specific emphasis on biodistribution and both in vitro and in vivo toxicity following various routes of exposure. Most in vitro studies have demonstrated the size-, dose-and coating-dependent cellular uptake of AgNPs. Following NPs exposure, in vivo biodistribution studies have reported Ag accumulation and toxicity to local as well as distant organs. Though there has been an increase in the number of studies in this area, more investigations are required to understand the mechanisms of toxicity following various modes of exposure to AgNPs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2375
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Biodistribution
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Routes of exposure
  • Silver nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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