Applications of nanotechnology in dermatology

  • Delouise L
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What are nanoparticles and why are they important in dermatology? These questions are addressed by highlighting recent developments in the nano-technology field that have increased the potential for intentional and unintentional nanoparticle skin exposure. The role of environmental factors in the interaction of nanoparticles with skin and the poten-tial mechanisms by which nanoparticles may influ-ence skin response to environmental factors are discussed. Trends emerging from recent literature suggest that the positive benefit of engineered nanoparticles for use in cosmetics and as tools for understanding skin biology and curing skin disease outweigh potential toxicity concerns. Discoveries reported in this journal are highlighted. This review begins with a general introduction to the field of nanotechnology and nanomedicine. This is followed by a discussion of the current state of understanding of nanoparticle skin penetration and their use in three therapeutic applications. Challenges that must be overcome to derive clinical benefit from the application of nanotechnology to skin are discussed last, providing perspective on the significant oppor-tunity that exists for future studies in investigative dermatology. NANOTECHNOLOGY AND NANOMEDICINE Nanoparticles are defined as any material with at least one dimension that is o100 nm in size (Dowling et al., 2004). Nanoparticles have many shapes (spheres, rods, dendritic) and they can be soft or hard, soluble or insoluble. Natural sources of nanoparticles include viruses (Baker et al., 1991; Dubina and Goldenberg 2009), allergens (Menetrez et al., 2001), and particulates produced in high-temperature processes such as volcanic eruptions (Buzea et al., 2007). Unintentional man-made sources include atmospheric auto-mobile or industrial exhaust, coal mining, and cigarette smoke (Buzea et al., 2007). Nanoparticles present in the dust created in the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center are being investigated as a contributing factor to the adverse health effects suffered by recovery workers (Altman et al., 2010; Cone and Farfel, 2011). In the laboratory, nanoparticles are created via the deliberate manipulation of materials at the atomic, molecular, and macromolecular scales. Nanotechnology is the engineering of materials on the nanoscale for technological or scientific applications (Rittner and Abraham, 1998). Engineered nanoparticles exhibit many novel physiochemical, electronic, optical, mechanical, catalytic, and thermal properties not present in the bulk form (Misra et al., 2008). These properties derive, in large part, from the increased surface area-to-volume ratio (Nel et al., 2006). Some of the most important engineered nanoparticles exploited in an expanding number of commer-cial products and technological applications include carbon nanotubes, fullerenes, quantum dots (QDs), metals (Ag, Au), metal oxides (TiO 2 , ZnO, Fe 2 O 3 , SiO 2), and lipophilic nanoparticles. Liposomes are nanosized vesicles comprising lipid bilayers (Kirjavainen et al., 1999; Immordino et al., 2006) formulated with naturally derived phospholipids and/ or other lipophilic molecules. Solid lipid nanoparticles are made from lipids that are solid at room temperature (Mü ller et al., 2000). Both lipophilic nanoparticle types have been designed for transcutaneous drug delivery. Many solid lipid nanoparticles and liposomal delivery systems have been commercialized, and many more are in clinical trials (Walve et al., 2011). Historically, many articles on lipophilic nanoparticles appear in this journal and several excellent reviews exist (Schäfer-Korting et al., 1989; Mü ller et al., 2000; Immordino et al., 2006; Prow et al., 2011a, b), and therefore these will not be explicitly discussed in this review. The emerging field of nanomedicine seeks to exploit the novel properties of engineered nanomaterials for diagnostic and therapeutic applications (Zhang et al., 2008; Parveen et al., 2011). Nanoparticles can be engineered to carry drug payloads, image contrast agents, or gene therapeutics for diagnosing and treating disease, with cancer being a primary focus (Gao et al., 2004; Moghimi et al., 2005; Al-Jamal et al., 2009; Boisselier and Astruc, 2009; Debbage, 2009; Riehe-mann et al., 2009; Huang et al., 2010a; Huang et al., 2011; IlbasmisTamer et al., 2010). Nanomaterials can be designed for passive tumor targeting, relying on the phenomenon of enhanced permeability and retention (Iyer et al., 2006; Huang et al., 2010a), or for active targeting designed with tethered homing ligands (Reubi, 2003; Schottelius and

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