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Translocation of (ultra)fine particles and nanoparticles across the placenta; a systematic review on the evidence of in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo studies

Journal Contribution - Review Article

Fetal development is a crucial window of susceptibility in which exposure may lead to detrimental health outcomes at birth and later in life. The placenta serves as a gatekeeper between mother and fetus. Knowledge regarding the barrier capacity of the placenta for nanoparticles is limited, mostly due to technical obstacles and ethical issues. We systematically summarize and discuss the current evidence and define knowledge gaps concerning the maternal-fetal transport and fetoplacental accumulation of (ultra)fine particles and nanoparticles. We included 73 studies on placental translocation of particles, of which 21 in vitro/ex vivo studies, 50 animal studies, and 2 human studies on transplacental particle transfer. This systematic review shows that (i) (ultra)fine particles and engineered nanoparticles can bypass the placenta and reach fetal units as observed for all the applied models irrespective of the species origin (i.e., rodent, rabbit, or human) or the complexity (i.e., in vitro, ex vivo, or in vivo), (ii) particle size, particle material, dose, particle dissolution, gestational stage of the model, and surface composition influence maternal-fetal translocation, and (iii) no simple, standardized method for nanoparticle detection and/or quantification in biological matrices is available to date. Existing evidence, research gaps, and perspectives of maternal-fetal particle transfer are highlighted.
Journal: Particle and Fibre Toxicology
Issue: 1
Volume: 17
Number of pages: 26
Publication year:2020