Sulfidation of silver nanowires inside human alveolar epithelial cells: A potential detoxification mechanism

Department of Materials and London Centre for Nanotechnology, Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AZ, UK. .
Nanoscale (Impact Factor: 7.39). 08/2013; 5(20). DOI: 10.1039/c3nr03205a
Source: PubMed


Silver nanowires (AgNWs) are being developed for use in optoelectronics. However before widespread usage, it is crucial to determine their potential effects on human health. It is accepted that Ag nanoparticles (AgNPs) exert toxic effects by releasing Ag(+) ions, but much less is known about whether Ag(+) reacts with compounds, or any downstream bioactive effects of transformed AgNPs. Analytical high-resolution transmission electron microscopy has been employed to elucidate cellular uptake and reactivity of AgNWs inside human alveolar epithelial type 1-like cells. AgNWs were observed in the cytoplasm and membrane-bound vesicles, and precipitation of Ag2S within the cell occurred after 1 h exposure. Cell viability studies showed no evidence of cytotoxicity and reactive oxygen species were not observed on exposure of cells to AgNWs. We suggest that Ag2S formation acts as a 'trap' for free Ag(+), significantly limiting short-term toxicological effects - with important consequences for the safety of Ag-nanomaterials to human health.

Download full-text


Available from: Pakatip Ruenraroengsak, Feb 06, 2016
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There is a growing concern about the potential adverse effects on human health upon exposure to engineered silver nanomaterials (particles, wires and plates). However, the majority of studies testing the toxicity of silver nanomaterials have examined nominally 'as-synthesized' materials without considering the fate of the materials in biologically relevant fluids. Here, in-house silver nanowires (AgNWs) were prepared by a modified polyol process and were incubated in three cell culture media (DMEM, RPMI-1640 and DCCM-1) to examine the impact of AgNW-medium interactions on the physicochemical properties of the AgNWs. High-resolution analytical transmission electron microscopy revealed that Ag2S crystals form on the surface of AgNWs within 1 hour of incubation in DCCM-1. In contrast, the incubation of AgNWs in RPMI-1640 or DMEM did not lead to sulfidation. When the DCCM-1 cell culture medium was separated into its small molecule solutes and salts and protein components, the AgNWs were found to sulfidize in the fraction containing small molecule solutes and salts, but not in the fraction containing the protein component of the media. Further investigation showed the AgNWs did not readily sulfidize in the presence of isolated sulfur containing amino acids or proteins, such as cysteine or bovine serum albumin (BSA). The results demonstrate that the AgNWs can be transformed by the media before and during the incubation with cells and therefore the effects of cell culture media must be considered in the analysis of toxicity assays. Appropriate media and material controls must be in place to allow accurate predictions about the toxicity, and ultimately, the health risk of this commercially relevant class of nanomaterial.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Environmental Science & Technology
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Inhaled multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) may cause adverse pulmonary responses due to their nanoscale, fibrous morphology and/or biopersistance. This study tested multiple factors (dose, time, physicochemical characteristics, and administration method) shown to affect MWCNT toxicity with the hypothesis that these factors will influence significantly different responses upon MWCNT exposure. The study is unique in that (1) multiple administration methods were tested using particles from the same stock; (2) bulk MWCNT formulations had few differences (metal content, surface area/functionalization); and (3) MWCNT retention was quantified using a specialized approach for measuring unlabeled MWCNTs in rodent lungs. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to original (O), purified (P), and carboxylic acid functionalized (F) MWCNTs via intratracheal instillation and inhalation. Blood, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), and lung tissues were collected at postexposure days 1 and 21 for quantifying biological responses and MWCNTs in lung tissues by programmed thermal analysis. At day 1, MWCNT instillation produced significant BALF neutrophilia and MWCNT-positive macrophages. Instilled O- and P-MWCNTs produced significant inflammation in lung tissues, which resolved by day 21 despite MWCNT retention. MWCNT inhalation produced no BALF neutrophilia and no significant histopathology past day 1. However, on days 1 and 21 postinhalation of nebulized MWCNTs, significantly increased numbers of MWCNT-positive macrophages were observed in BALF. Results suggest (1) MWCNTs produce transient inflammation if any despite persistence in the lungs; (2) instilled O-MWCNTs cause more inflammation than P- or F-MWCNTs; and (3) MWCNT suspension media produce strikingly different effects on physicochemical particle characteristics and pulmonary responses.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · ACS Nano
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Increasing silver nanoparticle (AgNP) use in sprays, consumer products, and medical devices has raised concerns about potential health effects. While previous studies have investigated AgNPs, most were limited to a single particle size or surface coating. In this study, we investigated the effect of size, surface coating, and dose on the persistence of silver in the lung following exposure to AgNP. Adult male rats were intratracheally instilled with four different AgNPs: 20 or 110 nm in size and coated with either citrate or polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) at 0.5 or 1.0 mg/kg doses. Silver retention was assessed in the lung at 1, 7, and 21 d post exposure. ICP-MS quantification demonstrated that citrate-coated AgNPs persisted in the lung to 21 d with retention greater than 90%, while PVP-coated AgNP had less than 30% retention. Localization of silver in lung tissue at 1 d post exposure demonstrated decreased silver in proximal airways exposed to 110 nm particles compared with 20 nm AgNPs. In terminal bronchioles 1 d post exposure, silver was localized to surface epithelium but was more prominent in the basement membrane at 7 d. Silver positive macrophages in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid decreased more quickly after exposure to particles coated with PVP. We conclude that PVP-coated AgNPs had less retention in the lung tissue over time and larger particles were more rapidly cleared from large airways than smaller particles. The 20 nm citrate particles showed the greatest effect, increasing lung macrophages even 21 d after exposure, and resulted in the greatest silver retention in lung tissue.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Nanotoxicology
Show more