Effects of gadolinium oxide nanoparticles on the oxidative burst from human neutrophil granulocytes
We have previously shown that gadolinium oxide (Gd(2)O(3)) nanoparticles are promising candidates to be used as contrast agents in magnetic resonance (MR) imaging applications. In this study, these nanoparticles were investigated in a cellular system, as possible probes for visualization and targeting intended for bioimaging applications. We evaluated the impact of the presence of Gd(2)O(3) nanoparticles on the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) from human neutrophils, by means of luminol-dependent chemiluminescence. Three sets of Gd(2)O(3) nanoparticles were studied, i.e. as synthesized, dialyzed and both PEG-functionalized and dialyzed Gd(2)O(3) nanoparticles. In addition, neutrophil morphology was evaluated by fluorescent staining of the actin cytoskeleton and fluorescence microscopy. We show that surface modification of these nanoparticles with polyethylene glycol (PEG) is essential in order to increase their biocompatibility. We observed that the as synthesized nanoparticles markedly decreased the ROS production from neutrophils challenged with prey (opsonized yeast particles) compared to controls without nanoparticles. After functionalization and dialysis, more moderate inhibitory effects were observed at a corresponding concentration of gadolinium. At lower gadolinium concentration the response was similar to that of the control cells. We suggest that the diethylene glycol (DEG) present in the as synthesized nanoparticle preparation is responsible for the inhibitory effects on the neutrophil oxidative burst. Indeed, in the present study we also show that even a low concentration of DEG, 0.3%, severely inhibits neutrophil function. In summary, the low cellular response upon PEG-functionalized Gd(2)O(3) nanoparticle exposure indicates that these nanoparticles are promising candidates for MR-imaging purposes.
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