Effects of nano-scaled particles on endothelial cell function in vitro: Studies on viability, proliferation and inflammation

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Recent studies give support for a connection between the presence of inorganic particles (of μm and nm size) in different organs and tissues and the development of inflammatory foci, called granulomas. As the potential source of particles (e.g. porcelain dental bridges) and the location of particle detection were topographically far apart, a distribution via the blood stream appears highly probable. Thus, endothelial cells, which line the inner surface of blood vessels, would come into direct contact with these particles, making particle–endothelial interactions potentially pathogenically relevant. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects that five different nano-scaled particles (PVC, TiO2, SiO2, Co, Ni) have on endothelial cell function and viability. Therefore, human endothelial cells were exposed to different amounts of the above-mentioned particles. Although most particle types are shown to be internalised (except Ni-particles), only Co-particles possessed cytotoxic effects. Furthermore, an impairment of the proliferative activity and a pro-inflammatory stimulation of endothelial cells were induced by exposure to Co- and, to a lesser extent, by SiO2-particles. If a pro-inflammatory stimulation of endothelial cells occurs in vivo, a chronic inflammation could be a possible consequence.