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In vitro Biosafety Analysis and Assessment of Small-Sized Fluorescent Silicon Nanoparticles


Biosafety analysis and assessment is of essential importance for nanomaterial-based wide-ranging applications. Extensive investigations have been carried out for evaluating the toxicology of various nanomaterials (e.g., carbon- and metal-based nanomaterials). In recent years, sufficient efforts have been made to develop fluorescent small-sized silicon nanoparticles (SiNPs) as novel optical material simultaneously featuring strong fluorescence and ultrahigh photostability, providing high promise for myriad biological, biomedical and electronic applications. It is worth pointing out that, despite non- or low-toxicity of silicon, sufficient and objective biosafety analysis of SiNPs is urgently required in both in vitro and in vivo level. However, there currently exists scanty information about intracellular behaviors of the SiNPs, particularly the underlying mechanism of entry into cells and intracellular fate. Herein, we give a report aimed at determining the uptake and intracellular transport of SiNPs of ca. 4 nm diameter. Taking advantages of strong and stable fluorescent signals of SiNPs, we reveal that these small-sized SiNPs accumulate at the plasma membrane prior to internalization, and are further internalized predominantly by clathrin-mediated and caveolae-dependent endocytosis. After endocytosis, the SiNPs are localized in early endosome in short time (~ 1 h), while up to 24-h incubation the SiNPs are mainly transported to lysosome in a microtubule-dependent way; and interestingly, to a smaller extent are sorted to Golgi apparatus. Moreover, we demonstrate that there are no toxic effects of SiNPs on cell metabolic activity and integrity of plasma membrane.

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Publication details

The article was received on 22 Jan 2017, accepted on 03 May 2017 and first published on 05 May 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR00530J
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    In vitro Biosafety Analysis and Assessment of Small-Sized Fluorescent Silicon Nanoparticles

    Z. Cao, F. Peng, Z. Hu, B. Chu, Y. Zhong, Y. Su, S. He and Y. He, Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7NR00530J

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