Analyzing the Nanotoxicology of Aluminum Nanoparticles

Aluminum-based matrix compounds with excellent formability, massive strength, good corrosion protection, low density, and good wear resistance are used extensively in various industrial equipment.

​​Study: An insight into application and harmful effects of aluminum, aluminum complexes and aluminum nano-particles. Image Credit: Philipp Tur/Shutterstock.com

In an article recently available in press as a corrected proof in the journal Materials Today: Proceedings, the authors discussed the properties and applications of aluminum matrix compounds. They highlighted the potential applications of aluminum nanoparticles in therapeutics and drew attention to the harmful effects caused by the increased use of aluminum nanoparticles in domestic and commercial applications.

Applications of Aluminum and Nanoparticles

Aluminum is the most abundant element found in the Earth’s crust and is found in trace concentrations in biological systems. It has long-term applications in construction, polishing, and electrical appliances. Although aluminum has widespread applications, they have harmful effects on humans.

Nanoparticles found on the Earth’s surface are a result of the combustion of fossil fuels or human intervention. The unique physicochemical properties of nanoparticle researchers have drawn considerable attention from in nanotechnology. Nanoparticles have gained importance in the electronics, cosmetics, construction, medicine, and manufacturing sectors.

Despite extensive studies and the development of new drugs, there is no cure for cancer. Hence, effective treatment strategies are the current need in treatment. In this context, nanoparticles are employed as drug carriers in cancer therapy due to their target specificity. Besides cancer therapy, nanoparticles are used in various treatments as drug carriers to enhance the effect of drugs. Additionally, nanoparticles are used in the field of environmental sciences.

Overview of Aluminum Nanoparticles

In the present study, the authors reviewed the addition of fly, graphite, ash, red mud, silicon carbide, and organic material into the aluminum matrix to enable their compatibility in advanced applications. Each type of assisted material in the aluminum matrix had unique properties that enhanced the overall properties of the base alloy.

The authors also highlighted the role of aluminum nanoparticles in cancer therapy, Alzheimer’s disease, and controlling pollution. Further, the authors suggested that mixing traditional metals with aluminum compounds enhanced its usability and durability.

Application of Aluminum Complexes and Aluminum Nanoparticles

Aluminum complexes have aluminum as central metal connected to other molecules or ions via coordinated or dative bonds. Many vaccines against bacteria, viruses, and other anti-parasites contain aluminum complexes.

Nanotechnology explored in various sectors of climate, pharmacology, and agriculture have led to many advancements. Aluminum nanoparticles are widely employed in electronic, microelectronic, voltaic industries, and medicinal fields.

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles are used as magnifying agents in radiation therapy and computed tomography (CT) imaging. In radiation therapy, these nanoparticles are used in ionizing radiation to selectively destroy the DNA in tumor cells leading to cell death. Furthermore, TiO2 nanoparticles help track the iodine uptake by tumor cells in CT imaging. In the studies involving the CT26 cell line, TiO2 Nanoparticles cause oxidative stress in cells without the need for ultraviolet (UV) light. Moreover, these nanoparticles exhibit an anticancer mechanism by increasing the reactive oxygen species in cells.

Nanoparticles aid in the chelator’s movement into and out of the cerebrum allowing the metal to be trapped and expelled out from the brain tissue in Alzheimer’s patients.

Harmful Effects of Aluminum and Nanoparticles

Previous studies revealed the engagement of aluminum in Alzheimer’s disease aetiology since it was found in traces in senile plaques and intraneuronal neurofibrillary tangles in a patient’s brain suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, aluminum in the central nervous system (CNS) affects amyloid protein production and deposition.

The presence of aluminum salts in the biological system may cause immunologic changes, pro-inflammatory effects, enzymatic dysfunction, amyloidogenesis, necrosis, etc. Although the impact of aluminum oxide in increasing the length is studied, the aluminum (Al+3ion represses the development of roots. Accumulation of silver nanoparticles in plants causes alterations in their breathing rate and photosynthesis cycle.

Accumulation of nanoparticles in water negatively affects aquatic life leading to disturbances in ecological balance. In fish, nanoparticles can cause potassium/sodium salt imbalance, oxidative stress, and tissue disruption.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the authors demonstrated that, due to the unique characteristics of aluminum, it is used in constructing various types of scientific equipment and automobiles. Moreover, reinforcing aluminum with nanoparticles enhances its mechanical properties.

Nanoparticles are incorporated into daily use products such as paints, medicines, and cosmetics, but their presence in the environment is causing disturbances to ecological balance and negatively impacting the food chain. Due to their minute size, nanoparticles are more prone to aggregation inside the biological system. Thus, surface modifications of nanoparticles can aid in their better therapeutic application and other industrial uses.

Reference

Iqbal, I., Sharma, S and Pathania, AR. (2022) An Insight into Application and Harmful Effects of Aluminum, Aluminum Complexes, and Aluminum Nanoparticles. Materials Today: Proceedings.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214785322030504

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