About this Research Topic
We define nanomaterials as those in which at least one-dimension falls between 1 to 100 nm. With the development of nanotechnology, more and more nano-objects are used in our daily life. The human exposure to engineered nanomaterials is becoming frequent also because of the fast development of the new promising field of nanomedicine. In parallel, safety concerns have emerged, fostering intensive research on the possible harmful effects of nanomaterials. In this context, a careful evaluation of the immunological effects of these new engineered materials is mandatory.
Biomedical imaging concentrates on the capture of images for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Together with advances in imaging instruments that allow for efficient detection, the recent development of imaging materials with a molecular/nanoscale structure has shifted biomedical imaging from contrast-enhanced imaging of anatomical structures and molecular imaging of biomarkers to functional imaging of physiological activities, both in preclinical animal studies and clinical diagnostics/interventions. Given the great development of nano-imaging materials and their vast potential future use, it is of key importance to have solid information on their immunological effects, which at present is essentially missing.
Intentional exposure of human beings to nano-imaging materials may elicit unforeseen immune reactions that may pose a potential danger. Depending on the specific characteristics of the nano-imaging materials (size, shape, surface functionalization), they may trigger immune/inflammatory reactions both at the cellular and systemic level, which may go from normal defensive responses to foreign materials to pathological reactions. These include cell stress (and cytotoxicity), inflammation, hyperreactivity or immunosuppression. Avoiding immune recognition is not only required for better safety but is important for allowing nano-imaging materials to stay in the body for the time required to reach their target and exert their diagnostic/therapeutic functions.
The aim of this Research Topic is to provide an update of the recent progress and key aspects of nano-imaging materials relating to their immunological responses, as well as the potential biomedical applications. We particularly welcome Original Research, Review, Mini Review, Perspective and Opinion articles that provide new insight on:
1. The innate and adaptive immune responses induced by nano-imaging materials;
2. The molecular mechanisms of innate and adaptive immune effects induced by nano-imaging materials;
3. The potential immunological applications for nano-imaging materials;
4. The biological effects and biomedical applications of nano-imaging materials.
Keywords: nanomaterials safety, immunity, inflammation, biomedical imaging, aggregation induced emission
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