In recent years, several publications reported that nanoparticles larger than the kidney filtration threshold were found intact in the urine after being injected into laboratory mice. This theoretically should not be possible, as it is widely known that the kidneys prevent molecules larger than 6–8 nm from escaping into the urine. This is interesting because it implies that some nanoparticles can overcome the size limit for renal clearance. What kinds of nanoparticles can “bypass” the glomerular filtration barrier and cross into the urine? What physical and chemical characteristics are essential for nanoparticles to have this ability? And what are the biomolecular and cellular mechanisms that are involved? This review attempts to answer those questions and summarize known reports of renal-clearable large nanoparticles.
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