Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine

, Volume 23, Issue 10, pp 2563–2573

In vitro cytotoxicity of surface modified bismuth nanoparticles

  • Yang Luo
  • Chaoming Wang
  • Yong Qiao
  • Mainul Hossain
  • Liyuan Ma
  • Ming Su

DOI: 10.1007/s10856-012-4716-1

Cite this article as:
Luo, Y., Wang, C., Qiao, Y. et al. J Mater Sci: Mater Med (2012) 23: 2563. doi:10.1007/s10856-012-4716-1


This paper describes in vitro cytotoxicity of bismuth nanoparticles revealed by three complementary assays (MTT, G6PD, and calcein AM/EthD-1). The results show that bismuth nanoparticles are more toxic than most previously reported bismuth compounds. Concentration dependent cytotoxicities have been observed for bismuth nanoparticles and surface modified bismuth nanoparticles. The bismuth nanoparticles are non-toxic at concentration of 0.5 nM. Nanoparticles at high concentration (50 nM) kill 45, 52, 41, 34 % HeLa cells for bare nanoparticles, amine terminated bismuth nanoparticles, silica coated bismuth nanoparticles, and polyethylene glycol (PEG) modified bismuth nanoparticles, respectively; which indicates cytotoxicity in terms of cell viability is in the descending order of amine terminated bismuth nanoparticles, bare bismuth nanoparticles, silica coated bismuth nanoparticles, and PEG modified bismuth nanoparticles. HeLa cells are more susceptible to toxicity from bismuth nanoparticles than MG-63 cells. The simultaneous use of three toxicity assays provides information on how nanoparticles interact with cells. Silica coated bismuth nanoparticles can damage cellular membrane yet keep mitochondria less influenced; while amine terminated bismuth nanoparticles can affect the metabolic functions of cells. The findings have important implications for caution of nanoparticle exposure and evaluating toxicity of bismuth nanoparticles.



Bare bismuth nanoparticles


Polyethylene glycol modified bismuth nanoparticles


Silica encapsulated bismuth nanoparticles


Amine modified silica encapsulated bismuth nanoparticles

Calcein AM

Calcein acetoxymethyl ester


Carboxylic acid modified CdSe/ZnS nanoparticles


Ethidium homodimer-1


Carboxylic acid modified iron oxide nanoparticles


Amine modified iron oxide nanoparticles


Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase


Mercaptoacetic acid


3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide


Polyethylene glycol


X-ray fluorescence

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yang Luo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chaoming Wang
    • 1
    • 3
  • Yong Qiao
    • 1
  • Mainul Hossain
    • 1
    • 4
  • Liyuan Ma
    • 1
  • Ming Su
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.NanoScience Technology CenterUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Laboratory Medicine, Southwest HospitalThird Military Medical UniversityChongqingChina
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace EngineeringUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  4. 4.School of Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA