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: 3.63). 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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