Theranostics 2012; 2(3):271-282. doi:10.7150/thno.3618


Pharmacokinetics, Metabolism and Toxicity of Carbon Nanotubes for Biomedical Purposes

Sheng-Tao Yang1,2, Jianbin Luo1, Qinghan Zhou1, Haifang Wang2,✉

1. College of Chemistry and Environment Protection Engineering, Southwest University for Nationalities, Chengdu 610041, China.
2. Institute of Nanochemistry and Nanobiology, Shanghai University, Shanghai 200444, China.

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Yang ST, Luo J, Zhou Q, Wang H. Pharmacokinetics, Metabolism and Toxicity of Carbon Nanotubes for Biomedical Purposes. Theranostics 2012; 2(3):271-282. doi:10.7150/thno.3618. Available from

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Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have attracted great interest of the nano community and beyond. However, the biomedical applications of CNTs arouse serious concerns for their unknown in vivo consequence, in which the information of pharmacokinetics, metabolism and toxicity of CNTs is essential. In this review, we summarize the updated data of CNTs from the biomedical view. The information shows that surface chemistry is crucial in regulating the in vivo behaviors of CNTs. Among the functionalization methods, PEGylation is the most efficient one to improve the pharmacokinetics and biocompatibility of CNTs. The guiding effects of the pharmacokinetics, metabolism and toxicity information on the biomedical applications of CNTs are discussed.

Keywords: Carbon nanotubes, pharmacokinetics, metabolism, toxicity, biomedical applications.