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Mechanisms and Measurement of Nanomaterial-Induced Oxidative Damage to DNA



Bryant C. Nelson, Elijah J. Petersen


Many of the current investigations on the environmental health and human safety risks of engineered nanomaterials focus on their short-term acute effects. However, the long-term chronic effects of nanomaterials on living systems, and in particular, on the genetic components of living systems, also require attention. An increasing number of nanomaterial safety studies include an assessment of genotoxicity as part of the overall risk evaluation. The potential of nanomaterials to directly or indirectly promote the formation of reactive oxygen species is one of the key steps in their genotoxic repertoire. The subsequent modification of genomic DNA by reactive oxygen species could lead to the development of mutagenesis, carcinogenesis or other age-related diseases if the DNA damage is not repaired. This review focuses on the interactions of nanomaterials with DNA and specifically the capacity of some nanomaterials to induce oxidative DNA damage. A critical assessment of the analytical methodology and the potential biochemical mechanisms involved in nanomaterial-induction of oxidative DNA damage are presented, results obtained for the various studies with each nanomaterial are compared, and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry


base lesions, Comet assay, engineered nanomaterials, genotoxicity, nanotechnology, oxidative DNA damage, toxicity


Nelson, B. and Petersen, E. (2010), Mechanisms and Measurement of Nanomaterial-Induced Oxidative Damage to DNA, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, [online], (Accessed June 14, 2024)


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Created June 22, 2010, Updated February 19, 2017