Copper (Cu) is a biogenic element that plays an important role in many biological processes. Cu is also used in various industrial products and its nanosized form has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Cu nanoparticles (NPs) are further applied in industry, chemistry and electronic devices. When compared with other metal oxide NPs, Cu NPs are less commonly used. However, the potential of copper oxide NPs (CuO NPs) to induce cytotoxicity and DNA damage in vitro was higher than that of other tested NPs. Despite this fact, studies on CuO NPs toxicity are relatively scarce and their effects on human health have never been investigated. In vitro tests in model cell lines showed the ability of CuO NPs to cause oxidative stress, but induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest were also observed. In animal studies, inflammatory responses in lungs were most common, but some studies revealed damage to other organs, including the brain. Considering toxicity of CuO NPs and the fact that these NPs are routinely manufactured and used in various products, more research is needed to elucidate mechanisms of their negative health effects in humans.Keywords: CuO nanoparticles, toxicity, experimental systems
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