Detection and analysis of human serum albumin nanoparticles within phagocytic cells at the resolution of individual live cell or single 3D multicellular spheroid

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Since nanoparticles (NPs) have shown great potential in various biomedical applications, live cell response to NPs should be thoroughly explored prior to their in vivo use. In the current study, live cell array (LCA) methodology and unique cell-based assays were used to study the interaction of magnetite (HSA-Mag NP) loaded human serum albumin NPs with phagocytic cells. The LCA enabled cell culturing during HSA-Mag NP accumulation and monolayer or spheroid formation, concomitantly with on-line monitoring of NP internalization. These platforms were also utilized for imaging intercellular links between living cells preloaded with HSA-Mag NP in 2D and 3D resolution. HSA-Mag NP uptake by cells was quantified by imaging, and analyzed using time-resolved measurements. Image analysis of the individual cells in cell populations showed accumulation of HSA-Mag NP by promonocytes and glial cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. High variability of NP accumulation in individual cells within cell populations, as well as cell subgroups, was evident in both cell types. Following 24 h interaction, uptake of HSA-Mag NP was about 10 times more efficient in glial cells than in activated promonocytes. The presented assays may facilitate detection and analysis of the amount of NPs within individual cells, as well as the rate of NP accumulation and processing in different subsets of living cells. Such data are crucial for estimating predicted drug dosage delivered by NPs, as well as to study possible mechanisms for NP interference with live cells.

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This study was endowed by the Bequest of Moshe-Shimon and Judith Weisbrodt, by the ERA-NET NEURON Transnational Research Project 2009 and by the Israel Ministry of Health.

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Correspondence to Mordechai Deutsch.

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Afrimzon, E., Zurgil, N., Sobolev, M. et al. Detection and analysis of human serum albumin nanoparticles within phagocytic cells at the resolution of individual live cell or single 3D multicellular spheroid. J Nanopart Res 17, 492 (2015) doi:10.1007/s11051-015-3306-9

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  • Human serum albumin NPs
  • Phagocytic cells
  • Single cell/spheroid
  • Image analysis
  • Targeted drug delivery
  • Nanomedicine