Engineered nanomaterial applications in perinatal therapeutics

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Engineered nanomaterials (ENM) are widely used in commercial, domestic, and more recently biomedical applications. While the majority of exposures to ENM are unintentional, biomedical platforms are being evaluated for use in individualized and/or tissue-targeted therapies. Treatments are often avoided during prenatal periods to reduce adverse effects on the developing fetus. The placenta is central to maternal-fetal medicine. Perturbation of placental functions can limit transfer of necessary nutrients, alter production of hormones needed during pregnancy, or allow undesired passage of xenobiotics to the developing fetus. The development of therapeutics to target specific maternal, placental, or fetal tissues would be especially important to reduce or circumvent toxicities. Therefore, this review will discuss the potential use of ENM in perinatal medicine, the applicable physiochemical properties of ENM in therapeutic use, and current methodologies of ENM testing in perinatal medicine, and identify maternal, fetal, and offspring concerns associated with ENM exposure during gestation. As potential nanoparticle-based therapies continue to develop, so does the need for thorough consideration and evaluation for use in perinatal medicine.Graphical abstract

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