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Issue 17, 2014
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Transport across the cell-membrane dictates nanoparticle fate and toxicity: a new paradigm in nanotoxicology

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Abstract

The toxicity of metallic nanoparticles (MNPs) has been fully ascertained, but the mechanisms underlying their cytotoxicity remain still largely unclear. Here we demonstrate that the cytotoxicity of MNPs is strictly reliant on the pathway of cellular internalization. In particular, if otherwise toxic gold, silver, and iron oxide NPs are forced through the cell membrane bypassing any form of active mechanism (e.g., endocytosis), no significant cytotoxic effect is registered. Pneumatically driven NPs across the cell membrane show a different distribution within the cytosol compared to NPs entering the cell by active endocytosis. Specifically, they exhibit free random Brownian motions within the cytosol and do not accumulate in lysosomes. Results suggest that intracellular accumulation of metallic nanoparticles into endo-lysosomal compartments is the leading cause of nanotoxicity, due to consequent nanoparticle degradation and in situ release of metal ions.

Graphical abstract: Transport across the cell-membrane dictates nanoparticle fate and toxicity: a new paradigm in nanotoxicology

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
14 Apr 2014
Accepted
22 Jun 2014
First published
25 Jun 2014

Nanoscale, 2014,6, 10264-10273
Article type
Paper

Transport across the cell-membrane dictates nanoparticle fate and toxicity: a new paradigm in nanotoxicology

D. Guarnieri, S. Sabella, O. Muscetti, V. Belli, M. A. Malvindi, S. Fusco, E. De Luca, P. P. Pompa and P. A. Netti, Nanoscale, 2014, 6, 10264
DOI: 10.1039/C4NR02008A

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