Evaluation of gold nanoparticles biocompatibility: a multiparametric study on cultured endothelial cells and macrophages
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Colloidal gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have been considered an established advanced tool in biomedicine thanks to their physicochemical properties combined with nanoscale size ideal for the interrogation of biological systems. However, such properties are believed to be a possible major cause of “unsafety” of these materials. For this reason, increasing attention has been due to assess how AuNPs affect cell behaviour in cultures. In the present work, we investigate the effects of PMA polymer-coated Au@PMA PEGylated (8.9 ± 0.2 nm) or not (6.6 ± 0.6 nm) on HUVECs and macrophages, which are model cell types likely to interact with Au@PMA after systemic administration in vivo, using a multiparametric approach. Testing different NPs concentrations and incubation times, we analysed the effect of such NPs on cell viability, oxidative stress, inflammatory processes, and cell uptake. Our data suggested that Au@PMA reduced the cell viability mostly through oxidative stress and TNF-α production after the uptake by HUVECs and macrophages, respectively. PEGylation conferred improved biocompatibility to Au@PMA in particular, no significant effects on any parameter tested could be observed at a concentration of 20 µg mL−1. This approach allowed us to explore different aspects of cell-NPs interaction and to suggest that these NPs could be potentially used for the in vivo studies.
KeywordsGold nanoparticles Endothelial cells Macrophages Oxidative stress Cellular toxicity Nanoparticle uptake Colloids Health effects
The authors report no conflict of interest. The authors are the sole responsible for the content and writing of the paper. We thank R. Allevi (CMENA, University of Milano) for TEM images. This work was supported by Grants from FAR 2010, FAR 2011, and “The MULAN Project” from Cariplo Foundation (Grant n. 2011-2096).
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