On Placental Toxicology Studies and Cerium Dioxide Nanoparticles


The human placenta is a transient organ essential for pregnancy maintenance, fetal development and growth. It has several functions, including that of a selective barrier against pathogens and xenobiotics from maternal blood. However, some pollutants can accumulate in the placenta or pass through with possible repercussions on pregnancy outcomes. Cerium dioxide nanoparticles (CeO2 NPs), also termed nanoceria, are an emerging pollutant whose impact on pregnancy is starting to be defined. CeO2 NPs are already used in different fields for industrial and commercial applications and have even been proposed for some biomedical applications. Since 2010, nanoceria have been subject to priority monitoring by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in order to assess their toxicity. This review aims to summarize the current methods and models used for toxicology studies on the placental barrier, from the basic ones to the very latest, as well as to overview the most recent knowledge of the impact of CeO2 NPs on human health, and more specifically during the sensitive window of pregnancy. Further research is needed to highlight the relationship between environmental exposure to CeO2 and placental dysfunction with its implications for pregnancy outcome.