After administering large amounts of silver nanoparticles to rats in in vivo studies the silver could later also be detected in the brain. Under normal circumstances the blood-brain barrier is impermeable to nanoparticles and it can only be overcome only by specifically altering the nanoparticles (see also cross-cutting topics - nanoparticles at the blood-brain barrier).


Schematic sketch showing the blood-brain barrier.© von Kuebi = Armin KübelbeckSchematic sketch showing the blood-brain barrier.© von Kuebi = Armin KübelbeckBased on current scientific information it is not yet possible to make a final statement as to whether silver nanoparticles are actually transported across the blood-brain barrier or only deposited in the near-brain regions. Studies dealing with the neurotoxic effects of silver in general (not explicitly with nano silver) could detect silver in the region of blood-brain barrier but no accompanying damage.


Parallel conducted in vitro studies confirmed that the observed neurotoxic effects occurred due to the released silver ions. In addition, the silver nanoparticles triggered an inflammatory response in primary endothelial brain cells resulting in an increased permeability of the cell layer. This mode of action could the enable the transport of normally undesirable substances into the brain.[1-7]



Literature arrow down

  1. Hadrup, N et al. (2012). Neurotoxicology, 33(3): 416-423.
  2. Luther, EM et al. (2011). Nanotechnology, 22(37): 375101.
  3. Liu, J et al. (2012). ACS Nano, 6(11): 9887-9899.
  4. Trickler, WJ et al. (2010). Toxicol Sci, 118(1): 160-170.
  5. Hadrup, N et al. (2014). Regul Toxicol Pharmacol, 68(1): 1-7.
  6. Lansdown, AB (2007), Crit Rev Toxicol, 37(3): 237-250.
  7. Wijnhoven, SWP et al. (2009), Nanotoxicology, 3(2): 109-U178


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