Hydrodynamic chromatography coupled to single-particle ICP-MS for the simultaneous characterization of AgNPs and determination of dissolved Ag in plasma and blood of burn patients
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Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are increasingly used in medical devices as innovative antibacterial agents, but no data are currently available on their chemical transformations and fate in vivo in the human body, particularly on their potential to reach the circulatory system. To study the processes involving AgNPs in human plasma and blood, we developed an analytical method based on hydrodynamic chromatography (HDC) coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) in single-particle detection mode. An innovative algorithm was implemented to deconvolute the signals of dissolved Ag and AgNPs and to extrapolate a multiparametric characterization of the particles in the same chromatogram. From a single injection, the method provides the concentration of dissolved Ag and the distribution of AgNPs in terms of hydrodynamic diameter, mass-derived diameter, number and mass concentration. This analytical approach is robust and suitable to study quantitatively the dynamics and kinetics of AgNPs in complex biological fluids, including processes such as agglomeration, dissolution and formation of protein coronas. The method was applied to study the transformations of AgNP standards and an AgNP-coated dressing in human plasma, supported by micro X-ray fluorescence (μXRF) and micro X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (μXANES) speciation analysis and imaging, and to investigate, for the first time, the possible presence of AgNPs in the blood of three burn patients treated with the same dressing. Together with our previous studies, the results strongly support the hypothesis that the systemic mobilization of the metal after topical administration of AgNPs is driven by their dissolution in situ.
KeywordsSilver nanoparticles Hydrodynamic chromatography Single-particle ICP-MS Synchrotron radiation Burns Wound dressings
The authors are grateful to the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research for financial support through the project MIUR-FIRB number RBFR08M6W8. The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility is acknowledged for provision of beamtime at ID21. ELGA LabWater is acknowledged for providing the PURELAB Option-Q and Ultra Analytic systems, which produced the ultra-pure water used in these experiments. Francesca Benetello and Bruno Pavoni from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice are acknowledged for the lyophilization of standards and samples.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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