Vertical arrays of nanostructures can provide access to the cell cytoplasma and probe intracellular molecules. Here, the simple combination of diamond nanoneedle arrays with centrifugation-induced supergravity is shown to efficiently deliver drugs and biomaterials into the cytosol within several minutes, negotiating the endocytososomal system. The potential influence of the technique on cell metabolism is thoroughly studied. By detecting the phosphorylated histone variant H2AX (pH2AX) in the nucleus, it is proved that the operating process will not lead to DNA double-strand breaks. However, the mechanical disruption can temporarily improve the permeability of the cell membranes. Nanoneedle treatment affects cell metabolism at multiple points. The treatment can slightly elevate the apoptotic signal in A549 cells and can significantly increase the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cells, particularly if combined with anticancer drugs. Meanwhile, the activity of cytosolic glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is also raised to counterbalance the elevated ROS content. A detected depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane potential suggests mitochondrial involvement in the intracellular redox reactions and cell apoptosis which are induced by diamond nanoneedle treatment. Overall this study provides a novel understanding on the intracellular delivery mediated by nanoneedles, especially the impact on cell physiology.
Diamond nanoneedle arrays can efficiently deliver different biomolecules into living cells by negotiating the cytoplasma barrier. The kinetics of the cell membrance recovery and the potential influence of the diamond nanoneedle treatment on the cell physiology have been systematically investigated.