Effects and uptake of gold nanoparticles deposited at the air-liquid interface of a human epithelial airway model.

Institute of Anatomy, Division of Histology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.98). 09/2009; 242(1):56-65. DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2009.09.014
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The impact of nanoparticles (NPs) in medicine and biology has increased rapidly in recent years. Gold NPs have advantageous properties such as chemical stability, high electron density and affinity to biomolecules, making them very promising candidates as drug carriers and diagnostic tools. However, diverse studies on the toxicity of gold NPs have reported contradictory results. To address this issue, a triple cell co-culture model simulating the alveolar lung epithelium was used and exposed at the air-liquid interface. The cell cultures were exposed to characterized aerosols with 15 nm gold particles (61 ng Au/cm2 and 561 ng Au/cm2 deposition) and incubated for 4 h and 24 h. Experiments were repeated six times. The mRNA induction of pro-inflammatory (TNFalpha, IL-8, iNOS) and oxidative stress markers (HO-1, SOD2) was measured, as well as protein induction of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, GM-CSF, TNFalpha, INFgamma). A pre-stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was performed to further study the effects of particles under inflammatory conditions. Particle deposition and particle uptake by cells were analyzed by transmission electron microscopy and design-based stereology. A homogeneous deposition was revealed, and particles were found to enter all cell types. No mRNA induction due to particles was observed for all markers. The cell culture system was sensitive to LPS but gold particles did not cause any synergistic or suppressive effects. With this experimental setup, reflecting the physiological conditions more precisely, no adverse effects from gold NPs were observed. However, chronic studies under in vivo conditions are needed to entirely exclude adverse effects.

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    ABSTRACT: Background The challenge remains to reliably mimic human exposure to high aspect ratio nanoparticles (HARN) via inhalation. Sophisticated, multi-cellular in vitro models are a particular advantageous solution to this issue, especially when considering the need to provide realistic and efficient alternatives to invasive animal experimentation for HARN hazard assessment. By incorporating a systematic test-bed of material characterisation techniques, a specific air-liquid cell exposure system with real-time monitoring of the cell-delivered HARN dose in addition to key biochemical endpoints, here we demonstrate a successful approach towards investigation of the hazard of HARN aerosols in vitro.Methods Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) derived from cotton and tunicates, with differing aspect ratios (~9 and ~80), were employed as model HARN samples. Specifically, well-dispersed and characterised CNC suspensions were aerosolised using an ¿Air Liquid Interface Cell Exposure System¿ (ALICE) at realistic, cell-delivered concentrations ranging from 0.14 to 1.57 ¿g/cm2. The biological impact (cytotoxicity, oxidative stress levels and pro-inflammatory effects) of each HARN sample was then assessed using a 3D multi-cellular in vitro model of the human epithelial airway barrier at the air liquid interface (ALI) 24 hours post-exposure. Additionally, the testing strategy was validated using both crystalline (quartz (DQ12)) as a positive particulate control in the ALICE system and long fibre amosite asbestos (LFA) confirm the susceptibility of the in vitro model to a fibrous insult.ResultsA rapid (¿4 min), controlled nebulisation of CNC suspensions enabled a dose-controlled and spatially homogeneous CNC deposition onto cells cultured under ALI conditions. Real-time monitoring of the cell-delivered CNC dose with a quartz crystal microbalance was accomplished. Independent of CNC aspect ratio, no significant cytotoxicity (p¿>¿0.05), induction of oxidative stress, or (pro)-inflammatory responses were observed up to the highest concentration of 1.57 ¿g/cm2. Both DQ12 and LFA elicited a significant (p¿<¿0.05) pro-inflammatory response at sub-lethal concentrations in vitro.Conclusion In summary, whilst the present study highlights the benign nature of CNCs, it is the advanced technological and mechanistic approach presented that allows for a state of the art testing strategy to realistically and efficiently determine the in vitro hazard concerning inhalation exposure of HARN.
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