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Comprehensive assessment of hazardous effects of engineered nanomaterials on the immune system - NANOMMUNE (»Add to Infobox)

Research Leader: Professor Mamoun Muhammed
Abdusalam Uheida

Materials and Nanophysics

The aim of the project is to establish a panel of read-out systems for the prediction of the toxic potential of existing and emerging engineered nanomaterials (ENs), through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach based on materials sciences, cell biology, toxicology, immunology, systems biology and risk assessment. The project focus is on the understanding of adverse effects of nanomaterials on the immune system.
Engineered nanomaterials (ENs) offer tremendous opportunities in industry, daily consumables, medicine, electronics and numerous other areas. However, there are considerable knowledge gaps concerning the potential hazardous effects of ENs on human health and the environment.

The NANOMMUNE partnership is committed to filling these knowledge gaps through a comprehensive assessment of ENs, with particular focus on effects on the immune system. The main concept in the NANOMMUNE project is that the recognition versus non-recognition of ENs by immune-competent cells will determine the distribution as well as their toxic potential. Moreover, we aim to assess whether ENs interfere with key functions of the immune system in vitro and in vivo, such as macrophage engulfment of cellular (apoptotic) debris and antigen presentation by dendritic cells to lymphocytes. Detailed physico-chemical characterization of ENs is also integrated in the project.

Our multidisciplinary consortium will focus on:
the synthesis and detailed characterization of representative classes of ENs.
the monitoring of potential hazardous effects by in vitro and in vivo systems.
transcriptomics and oxidative lipidomics to determine nanotoxic signatures.
risk assessment of potential adverse effects of ENs on human health.

Through our comprehensive approach, which combines analytical procedures from different disciplines, we aim to establish a panel of read-out systems for the prediction of the toxic potential of existing and emerging ENs. Overall, the NANOMMUNE results will enhance the understanding of possible adverse effects of nanomaterials and will hopefully contribute to a continuous and sustainable growth of the nanotechnologies.

Period: 2008-10-01 - 2011-08-31

Immunity system, Nanoparticles, Toxicity

Project URL:


European Commission


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