International Journal of Nanomedicine
Lipids, Lipid membranes, Nanoparticle–Membrane interactions
Introduction: Humans are intentionally exposed to gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) where they are used in variety of biomedical applications as imaging and drug delivery agents as well as diagnostic and therapeutic agents currently in clinic and in a variety of upcoming clinical trials. Consequently, it is critical that we gain a better understanding of how physiochemical properties such as size, shape, and surface chemistry drive cellular uptake and AuNP toxicity in vivo. Understanding and being able to manipulate these physiochemical properties will allow for the production of safer and more efficacious use of AuNPs in biomedical applications.
Methods and Materials: Here, AuNPs of three sizes, 5 nm, 10 nm, and 20 nm, were coated with a lipid bilayer composed of sodium oleate, hydrogenated phosphatidylcholine, and hexanethiol. To understand how the physical features of AuNPs influence uptake through cellular membranes, sum frequency generation (SFG) was utilized to assess the interactions of the AuNPs with a biomimetic lipid monolayer composed of a deuterated phospholipid 1.2-dipalmitoyl-d62-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (dDPPC).
Results and Discussion: SFG measurements showed that 5 nm and 10 nm AuNPs are able to phase into the lipid monolayer with very little energetic cost, whereas, the 20 nm AuNPs warped the membrane conforming it to the curvature of hybrid lipid-coated AuNPs. Toxicity of the AuNPs were assessed in vivo to determine how AuNP curvature and uptake influence cell health. In contrast, in vivo toxicity tested in embryonic zebrafish showed rapid toxicity of the 5 nm AuNPs, with significant 24 hpf mortality occurring at concentrations ≥ 20 mg/L, whereas the 10 nm and 20 nm AuNPs showed no significant mortality throughout the five-day experiment.
Conclusion: By combining information from membrane models using SFG spectroscopy with in vivo toxicity studies, a better mechanistic understanding of how nanoparticles (NPs) interact with membranes is developed to understand how the physiochemical features of AuNPs drive nanoparticle–membrane interactions, cellular uptake, and toxicity.
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Engstrom, A. M., Faase, R. A., Marquart, G. W., Baio, J. E., Mackiewicz, M. R., & Harper, S. L. (2020). Size-Dependent Interactions of Lipid-Coated Gold Nanoparticles: Developing a Better Mechanistic Understanding Through Model Cell Membranes and in vivo Toxicity. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 15, 4091-4104.