Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 2013, 65 (15), 2127-2134

Hemotoxicity of carbon nanotubes

Cyrill Bussy, Laura Methven and Kostas Kostarelos

Carbon nanotubes may enter into the bloodstream and interact with blood components indirectly via translocation following unintended exposure or directly after an intended administration for biomedical purposes. Once introduced into systemic circulation, nanotubes will encounter various proteins, biomolecules or cells which have specific roles in the homeostasis of the circulatory system. It is therefore essential to determine whether those interactions will lead to adverse effects or not. Advances in the understanding of how carbon nanotubes interact with blood proteins, the complement system, red blood cells and the hemostatic system are reviewed in this article. While many studies on carbon nanotube health risk assessment and their biomedical applications have appeared in the last few years, reports on the hemocompatibility of these nanomaterials remain surprisingly limited. Yet, defining the hemotoxicological profile is a mandatory step toward the development of clinically-relevant medications or contrast agents based on carbon nanotubes.