A technique that allows for the identification of nanoparticle distribution within mice simply looking at their skin is reported in Nature Communications this week. It is shown that different nanoparticles are visible through the skin under ambient or UV light. The method could be used as a simplified tool for predicting systemic nanoparticle exposure, which has, in certain instances, negative health implications.
The increasing use of nanoparticles as functional materials in medical research, for example, has led to concerns on their possible health effects after long term exposure. Currently, the quantification of internal nanoparticle exposure requires the isolation and sampling of internal tissues. Warren Chan and colleagues have investigated the behaviour of nanoparticles in mice, and found that after intravenous injection of fluorescent nanoparticles, they accumulate and can be observed through the skin. They also found that the concentration of these nanoparticles found in the skin can be directly correlated to both the injected dose and also their accumulations in other organs. It is hoped that this discovery could be used as a possible method to aid the prediction nanoparticle behaviour in the body.