Résumé : Given the results of experimental studies, occupational or environmental exposures to manufactured nanoparticles or to unintentionally produced ultrafine particles may result in health effects or diseases in humans. In this review, we synthesize published data of experimental studies on the distribution of inhaled nanoparticles and the first case reports to discuss the potential usefulness of their biological monitoring for clinical purposes. Toxicokinetic studies suggest that nanoparticles may be absorbed predominantly by respiratory and oral routes with possible systemic translocation, leading to accumulation in the peripheral organs or excretion in feces or urine. Some methods used in these studies may be applied successfully in retrospective evaluation of exposure or in follow-up of occupational exposure in the workplace. Biological monitoring of nanoparticles should be based on imaging methods that are essential to confirm their presence and to characterize them in tissue associated with analytical quantitative methods. The first case reports reviewed emphasize the urgent need for the development of standardized procedures for the preparation and analysis of biological samples with a view to characterizing and quantifying nanoparticles.