Characterization of carbon-coated magnetic nanoparticles using clinical blood coagulation assays: effect of PEG-functionalization and comparison to silica nanoparticles†
Intravascular application of magnetic nanocarriers is a critical step in the development of new therapeutic strategies, including magnetic drug targeting or hyperthermia. However, injection of particulate matter bears the intrinsic risk of contact activation of the blood coagulation cascade. In this work, we use point-of-care assays to study coagulation dynamics and clotting parameters in blood samples exposed to relevant concentrations of surface-functionalized carbon-coated iron carbide nanomagnets using unmodified nanomagnets and poly(ethylene)glycol-functionalized nanomagnets with different end-groups, including –OCH3, –NH2, –COOH, –IgG, and –ProteinA-protected-IgG (–IgG-ProtA). Silica nanoparticles with a comparable surface area are used as a reference material. For magnetic nanoparticles, we observe a decrease in clotting time by 25% compared to native blood at concentrations of 1 mg mL−1, independent of the surface functionalization, and only minor differences in receptor expression on platelets (GP-IIb-IIIa, CD62, and CD63) relative to control samples were observed. Interestingly, the inter-subject variance of the clotting time is similar to the nanoparticle-induced effect in a single subject with average clotting time. Whilst the present study is based on in vitro assays and a small group of healthy blood donors, the comparison to broadly used silica nanoparticles, and the fact that experimental intergroup variability is comparable to the observed effects from the carbon-coated nanomagnets suggests continuing investigations on their potential clinical use.