By Cameron Chai
According to a study carried out by Dr. Eric R. Blough and his team at Marshall University’s Center for Diagnostic Nanosystems, cerium oxide nanoparticles, which are utilized as fuel additives to improve the fuel efficiency of engines of automobiles, can enter the liver from the lungs and cause damage to the liver.
Dr. Eric R. Blough
During the study, the research team discovered a dose-dependent increase in cerium concentration in the animal liver when exposed to the nanomaterials. This increase in cerium concentration raises the liver enzyme level in the blood, resulting in the damage of liver. The team has published its findings in the International Journal of Nanomedicine.
Cerium oxide nanoparticles are commonly utilized as a polishing agent for ophthalmic lenses, television tubes and glass mirrors and as fuel additives in order to decrease the emissions of particulates. According to researchers, cerium oxide nanoparticles can also be used in the treatment of radiation-induced tissue damage, neurodegenerative disease and cardiovascular disease based on the findings on its capability to function as an antioxidant.
Blough stated that this is the first study analyzing the toxic effects of cerium oxide nanomaterials in the liver. It is important to study the toxicity level of nanomaterials as their use is ever-increasing in a range of products and in the industry. Dr. Siva K. Nalabotu, a member of Blough’s team and the lead author of the study, commented that interest on nanotoxicity is ever-increasing. The research study demonstrated that cerium oxide nanoparticles can enter into the liver through air circulation from the lungs and cause damage to the liver. A further step of the study will be to understand the toxicity mechanism, he added.