Journal of the Iranian Chemical Society

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 317–323 | Cite as

Nanoparticles-induced inflammatory cytokines in human plasma concentration manner: an ignored factor at the nanobio-interface

  • Nicolin Tirtaatmadja
  • Gysell Mortimer
  • Eng-Poh Ng
  • Hacan Ali Ahmad
  • Svetlana Mintova
  • Vahid Serpooshan
  • Rodney F. Minchin
  • Morteza Mahmoudi
Original Paper


Properties of nanoparticles (NPs) are responsible for their interaction with various biomolecules such as proteins in biological environments. Amount and composition of the proteins associated with NPs, i.e. protein corona, are strongly dependent on physicochemical characteristics of the particles, as well as incubation parameters including temperature and protein concentration. More importantly, the protein corona can define the biological fate of the NPs. Here, we demonstrate that variations in the concentration of plasma protein led to significant changes in the composition of the hard corona adsorbed on the surface of different NPs including hydrophilic amorphous silica (SiO2), hydrophilic crystalline zeolite (EMT), and hydrophobic sulfonated-modified polystyrene. Alteration in the corona composition of the NPs is a result of the plasma concentration, i.e. it affects the release of inflammatory cytokines in a plasma concentration-dependent manner. The amorphous silica nanoparticles with hydrophilic surfaces induced the release of the inflammatory cytokines interleukin-8 (IL-8) and tumor necrosis factor (TNFα) in 10 % plasma concentration, but not at higher concentrations. A reverse trend was observed for the hydrophobic, sulfonated-modified polystyrene NPs. Remarkably the hydrophilic highly porous EMT NPs exhibited no cellular toxicity regardless to the plasma concentration. The results obtained in this study can be used to define optimal pathways for nanoparticles administration in vivo. These findings can assist researchers to better understand how NPs with different surface properties may interact with various proteins in vivo, and elucidate safety considerations for their biomedical applications.


Protein corona Nanoparticles Inflammation Administrative routes Toxicity 



The authors thank National Health and Medical Research council of Australia for funding.

Supplementary material

13738_2014_486_MOESM1_ESM.doc (59 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 59 kb)


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Copyright information

© Iranian Chemical Society 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolin Tirtaatmadja
    • 1
  • Gysell Mortimer
    • 1
  • Eng-Poh Ng
    • 2
  • Hacan Ali Ahmad
    • 3
  • Svetlana Mintova
    • 3
  • Vahid Serpooshan
    • 5
  • Rodney F. Minchin
    • 1
  • Morteza Mahmoudi
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Biomedical SciencesUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Chemical SciencesUniversiti Sains Malaysia, USMMindenMalaysia
  3. 3.Laboratory of Catalysis and Spectroscopy, ENSICAENUniversity of Caen, CNRSCaenFrance
  4. 4.Department of Nanotechnology, Nanotechnology Research Center, Faculty of PharmacyTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  5. 5.Division of Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, School of MedicineStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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