Nanoparticle interaction with the immune system
When nanoparticles enter the body, their interactions with cells are almost unavoidable. Unintended nanoparticle interaction with immune cells may elicit a molecular response that can have toxic effects and lead to greater susceptibility to infectious diseases, autoimmune disorders, and cancer development. As evidenced by several studies, nanoparticle interactions with biological systems can stimulate inflammatory or allergic reactions and activate the complement system. Nanoparticles can also stimulate immune response by acting as adjuvants or as haptens. Immunosuppressive effects have also been reported. This article gives a brief review of in vitro and in vivo research evidencing stimulatory or suppressive effects of nanoparticles on the immune system of mammals. In order to ensure safe use of nanosized particles, future research should focus on how their physical and chemical properties influence their behaviour in the biological environment, as they not only greatly affect nanoparticle-immune system interactions but can also interfere with experimental assays.