Raman imaging of cellular uptake and studies of silver nanoparticles effect in BJ human fibroblasts cell lines

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Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) have been widely studied for their beneficial antimicrobial effect and have been considered by some to be a safe ingredient, as penetration of metal nanoparticles through the skin in vivo has not been proven. However, AgNPs are becoming a commonly applied nanomaterial for surface modifications of medical products which come into contact with damaged skin. In our experiments, we tested two commercially available AgNPs samples manufactured by electrolysis. AFM was used to characterize tested AgNPs morphology and their mean particle size which was assessed as 30.6 nm and 20.4 nm. An important mechanism of AgNPs cytotoxicity is generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), chemically reactive species containing oxygen. Although ROS occur in cell metabolism naturally, their overproduction can induce oxidative stress − imbalance between production and antioxidant defenses. This can be associated with cytotoxicity and DNA damage. Conventional in vitro tests were used to evaluate the cytotoxic potential and DNA damage in BJ human fibroblasts cell lines. We found that both tested AgNPs samples induced ROS generation and caused the DNA damage in fibroblasts. One of the key concerns about the association with cytotoxic or genotoxic responses of nanoparticles is the capability of these materials to penetrate through cellular membrane. Cellular uptake studies were performed using Raman imaging as a label-free microscopic technique. In combination with a univariate image analysis, results demonstrate cellular uptake and distribution of the AgNPs which were taken up by BJ cells within 24 h of incubation in a growth medium. The study demonstrates the potential of Raman imaging to unambiguously identify and localize AgNPs in fixed cells.Graphical abstract

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