15 April 2024

Mechanisms of Biological Effects of Ionic Liquids: From Single Cells to Multicellular Organisms

The review presents a detailed discussion of the evolving field studying interactions between ionic liquids (ILs) and biological systems. Originating from molten salt electrolytes to present multiapplication substances, ILs have found usage across various fields due to their exceptional physicochemical properties, including excellent tunability. However, their interactions with biological systems and potential influence on living organisms remain largely unexplored. This review examines the cytotoxic effects of ILs on cell cultures, biomolecules, and vertebrate and invertebrate organisms. Our understanding of IL toxicity, while growing in recent years, is yet nascent. The established findings include correlations between harmful effects of ILs and their ability to disturb cellular membranes, their potential to trigger oxidative stress in cells, and their ability to cause cell death via apoptosis. Future research directions proposed in the review include studying the distribution of various ILs within cellular compartments and organelles, investigating metabolic transformations of ILs in cells and organisms, detailed analysis of IL effects on proteins involved in oxidative stress and apoptosis, correlation studies between IL doses, exposure times and resulting adverse effects, and examination of effects of subtoxic concentrations of ILs on various biological objects. This review aims to serve as a critical analysis of the current body of knowledge on IL-related toxicity mechanisms. Furthermore, it can guide researchers toward the design of less toxic ILs and the informed use of ILs in drug development and medicine.

Reference: Chem. Rev., 2024, 124, 4679–4733.

DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.3c00420