Determinants of carbon nanotube toxicity

Sophie Lanone, Pascal Andujar, Ali Kermanizadeh, Jorge Boczkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

178 Citations (Scopus)


In the last few years questions have been raised regarding the potential toxicity of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to humans and environment. It is believed that the physico-chemical characteristics of these materials are key determinants of CNT interaction with living organisms, and hence determine their toxicity. As for other nanomaterials, the most important of these characteristics are the length, diameter, surface area, tendency to agglomerate, bio-durability, presence and nature of catalyst residues as well as chemical functionalization of the CNT. This review highlights the recent advancements in the understanding of the CNT properties which are essential in determining CNT toxicity. Hence the focus is on CNT dimensions, surface properties, bio-durability and corona formation as these fields have evolved greatly in recent years. A deeper understanding of these events and their underlying mechanisms could provide a molecular explanation of the biological and physiological responses following CNT administration and therefore help in the development of safe by design materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2063-2069
Number of pages7
JournalAdvanced Drug Delivery Reviews
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Animals
  • Environmental Exposure/adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Nanotubes, Carbon/adverse effects
  • Particle Size
  • Surface Properties
  • Toxicity Tests/methods


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