Immunogold labeling reveals subcellular localisation of silica nanoparticles in a human blood–brain barrier model†
Subcellular location of nanoparticles has been widely investigated with fluorescence microscopy, via fluorescently labeled antibodies to visualise target antigens in cells. However, fluorescence microscopy, such as confocal or live cell imaging, has generally limited 3D spatial resolution. Conventional electron microscopy can be useful in bridging resolution gap, but still not ideal in resolving subcellular organelle identities. Using the pre-embedding immunogold electron microscopic imaging, we performed accurate examination of the intracellular trafficking and gathered further evidence of transport mechanisms of silica nanoparticles across a human in vitro blood–brain barrier model. Our approach can effectively immunolocalise a variety of intracellular compartments and provide new insights into the uptake and subcellular transport of nanoparticles.