The new ground being broken by the field of nanotechnology provides us with numerous prospects for treatment and prevention of infectious diseases. Recent reports have demonstrated that several types of nanoparticles act as potent free radical scavengers and antioxidants. Specific nanoconstructs are also reported to have anti-inflammatory activities. Given these properties, the potential application of antioxidant nanoparticles for controlling infectious diseases are discussed in this review. Numerous pathogenic agents establish their virulence and pathogenicity by virtue of their ability to produce free radicals and damage the cells of the immune system. For example, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a bacterium that produces the toxin pyocyanin, which induces cell damage and compromises the immune system through production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Nanoparticle antioxidants may provide unique opportunities to counteract the pathogenicity of these types of microorganisms and their formation of biofilms, which are also related to oxygen levels and ROS production. The use of nanoparticles may also play a role in controlling conditions such as ventilation associated pneumonia, where high levels of oxygen induces oxidative stress and inhibits respiratory tract immunity. In contrast, nanoparticle antioxidants, by virtue of their anti-inflammatory activity, may blunt a hosts normal immune defenses to certain microorganisms. This review will address this emerging double-edged sword for nanomedicine and its potential role in controlling infectious disease and will address future directions for research in this emerging frontier.
Keywords: Nanotechnology, infectious disease, antioxidants, cerium oxide, nanomedicine, free radicals, oxidative stress, antimicrobials
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport