Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 408, Issue 21, pp 5935–5943 | Cite as

The interaction of an amino-modified ZrO2 nanomaterial with macrophages—an in situ investigation by Raman microspectroscopy

  • Anja Silge
  • Thomas Bocklitz
  • Rainer Ossig
  • Jürgen Schnekenburger
  • Petra Rösch
  • Jürgen Popp
Research Paper


Metal oxide nanoparticles (NP) are applied in the fields of biomedicine, pharmaceutics, and in consumer products as textiles, cosmetics, paints, or fuels. In this context, the functionalization of the NP surface is a common method to modify and modulate the product performance. A chemical surface modification of NP such as an amino-functionalization can be used to achieve a positively charged and hydrophobic surface. Surface functionalization is known to affect the interaction of nanomaterials (NM) with cellular macromolecules and the responses of tissues or cells, like the uptake of particles by phagocytic cells. Therefore, it is important to assess the possible risk of those modified NP for human health and environment. By applying Raman microspectroscopy, we verified in situ the interaction of amino-modified ZrO2 NP with cultivated macrophages. The results demonstrated strong adhesion properties of the NP to the cell membrane and internalization into the cells. The intracellular localization of the NP was visualized via Raman depth scans of single cells. After the cells were treated with sodium azide (NaN3) and 2-deoxy-glucose to inhibit the phagocytic activity, NP were still detected inside cells to comparable percentages. The observed tendency of amino-modified ZrO2 NP to interact with the cultivated macrophages may influence membrane integrity and cellular functions of alveolar macrophages in the respiratory system.

Graphical abstract

Detection of ZrO2 NM at subcellular level


Raman microspectroscopy ZrO2 nanoparticles Surface functionalization Cellular uptake 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from BMBF in the project nanoGEM (FKZ 03X0105A).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

We certify that there is no conflict of interest with any financial or non-financial organization regarding the material discussed in the manuscript.

Supplementary material

216_2016_9710_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (229 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 229 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anja Silge
    • 1
    • 2
  • Thomas Bocklitz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rainer Ossig
    • 3
  • Jürgen Schnekenburger
    • 3
  • Petra Rösch
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jürgen Popp
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Physical Chemistry and Abbe Center of PhotonicsFriedrich-Schiller-Universität JenaJenaGermany
  2. 2.InfectoGnostics Research Campus Jena, Center for Applied ResearchJenaGermany
  3. 3.Biomedical Technology CenterWestfälische Wilhelms-Universität MünsterMünsterGermany
  4. 4.Leibniz Institute of Photonic TechnologyJenaGermany

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