Advances in mechanisms and signaling pathways of carbon nanotube toxicity
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Advances in mechanisms and signaling pathways of carbon nanotube toxicity

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    Carbon nanotubes (CNT) have been developed into new materials with a variety of industrial and commercial applications. In contrast, the physicochemical properties of CNT at the nanoscale render them the potency to generate toxic effects. Indeed, the potential health impacts of CNT have drawn a great deal of attention in recent years, owing to their identified toxicological and pathological consequences including cytotoxicity, inflammation, fibrosis, genotoxicity, tumorigenesis, and immunotoxicity. Understanding the mechanisms by which CNT induce toxicity and pathology is thus urgently needed for accurate risk assessment of CNT exposure in humans, and for safe and responsible development and commercialization of nanotechnology. Here, we summarize and discuss recent advances in this area with a focus on the molecular interactions between CNT and mammalian systems, and the signaling pathways important for the development of CNT toxicity such as the NF-κB, NLRP3 inflammasome, TGF-β1, MAPK, and p53 signaling cascades. With the current mechanistic evidence summarized in this review, we expect to provide new insights into CNT toxicology at the molecular level and offer new clues to the prevention of health effects resulting from CNT exposure. Moreover, we disclose questions and issues that remain in this rapidly advancing field of nanotoxicology, which would facilitate ascertaining future research directions.
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