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A Morphological Approach to Monitor the Nanoparticle-Cell Interaction

Antonietta M. Gatti, Daniela Quaglino, Gian Luca Sighinolfi


Nanotechnologies may change to the better many sectors of industry, but considerable concern is arising about their side effects and possible risks to human life. The potential toxicity of nanoparticles (NPs) versus cells has to be much more clearly investigated than it has been done to date to define their future role in biological, medical and environmental applications.
The present study performed in-vitro standardized cytotoxicity tests using Hematite, Magnetite and Valentinite nanoparticles with 3T3 cells. Biological (XTT and Brd-U assays), morphological (ESEM and TEM) and physical (EDS and x-ray diffraction) investigations were performed to evaluate cell-nanoparticle interaction and physical state after interaction. The results identified a threshold toxic concentration for all NPs, beyond which no cytotoxic effects were detectable by standardized tests. Notwithstanding these results, cytoplasmatic and nuclear translocation was observed and verified also during mitotic phase. The limits of the standardized tests are analyzed and discussed.


Nanotoxicity, Nanoparticle, Biocompatibility, Risk assessment

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