, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 371-379
Date: 13 Jan 2010

Internalization and cytotoxicity analysis of silicon-based microparticles in macrophages and embryos

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Abstract

Microchips can be fabricated, using semiconductor technologies, at microscopic level to be introduced into living cells for monitoring of intracellular parameters at a single cell level. As a first step towards intracellular chips development, silicon and polysilicon microparticles of controlled shape and dimensions were fabricated and introduced into human macrophages and mouse embryos by phagocytosis and microinjection, respectively. Microparticles showed to be non-cytotoxic for macrophages and were found to be localized mainly inside early endosomes, in tight association with endosomal membrane, and more rarely in acidic compartments. Embryos with microinjected microparticles developed normally to the blastocyst stage, confirming the non-cytotoxic effect of the particles. In view of these results silicon and polysilicon microparticles can serve as the frame for future intracellular chips development and this technology opens the possibility of real complex devices to be used as sensors or actuators inside living cells.