SERS reveals the specific interaction of silver and gold nanoparticles with hemoglobin and red blood cell components†
The interaction of nanoparticles with hemoglobin (Hb), a major constituent of red blood cells, is important in nanotoxicity research. We report SERS spectra of Hb using gold and silver nanoparticles at very small nanoparticle : Hb molecule ratios, that is, under conditions relevant for SERS-based nanotoxicity experiments with red blood cells at high sensitivity. We show that the structural information obtained from the experiment is highly dependent on the type of SERS substrate and the conditions under which the interaction of nanoparticles with Hb molecules takes place. In experiments with isolated red blood cells, we demonstrate that the dependence of the spectra on the type of nanoparticle used as the SERS substrate extends to whole red blood cells and red blood cell components. Regarding the applicability of SERS to red blood cells in vivo, evidence is provided that the molecular information contained in the spectra is highly dependent on the material and size of the nanoparticles. The results indicate specific interactions of gold and silver nanoparticles with Hb and the red blood cell membrane, and reflect the hemolytic activity of silver nanoparticles. The results of this study help improve our understanding of the interactions of silver and gold nanoparticles with red blood cells.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Plasmonics and spectroscopy