Metal-based nanomaterials are increasingly applied as catalysts or antimicrobial additives, including nanoparticles of different metals, but also so-called nanowires of the same materials. This increases the risk of adverse health effects, since toxic metals may be released, and even essential trace elements may be toxic under overload conditions. To assess and compare toxic effects and to identify decisive factors leading to respective toxicity, we applied submers and advanced cell culture models combined with bioavailability studies and gene expression analysis via high throughput-RT qPCR related to genomic stability including epigenetic alterations as well as other relevant endpoints to establish toxicity profiles.
Different examples will be presented, such as chromium(III)oxide particles as compared to water soluble chromium(VI) or chromium(III) as well as the impact of copper- and silver-based nanoparticles and nanowire on genomic stability, demonstrating the role of intracellular bioavailability. Altogether, the applied cell systems and methods provide valuable tools to assess nanomaterial toxicity and, besides new mechanistic insights, the results are of major importance for risk assessment and read-across for metal-based nanomaterials.
About Andrea Hartwig
Prof. Andrea Hartwig received her Diploma in Chemistry in 1984, finished 1987 her PhD thesis and 1996 her Habilitation in Biochemistry at the University of Bremen. In 1998 she became Professor for Food Chemistry at the University of Karlsruhe (TH) and 2004 Full Professor for Food Chemistry at the Technical University of Berlin. Since 2010 she is Full Professor and Chair for Food Chemistry and Toxicology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).
Her main research focuses on the impact of carcinogenic metal compounds, including metal-based nanomaterials, on genomic stability, with special emphasis on DNA damage induction and effects on DNA repair, gene expression, cell cycle control, tumor suppressor functions and epigenetic alterations. Andrea Hartwig is also actively involved in chemical risk assessment. Among other activities, she is Chair of the German MAK Commission and Co-opted member in the Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). She is author of more than 200 scientific publications and received several awards for her research in the field of metal toxicology and its impact on scientific risk assessment.