Effects of silver nanoparticles on primary cell cultures of fibroblasts and keratinocytes in a wound-healing model

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Nanoparticles are widely used in different technological fields, one of which is medicine. Because of their antibacterial properties, silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are used in several types of wound dressings for the treatment of burns and nonhealing wounds, but their influence on each component of the wound-healing process remains unclear. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of AgNPs on normal human dermal fibroblasts (NHDFs) and normal human epidermal keratinocytes (NHEKs). Both cell types are important for wound healing, including with regard to inflammation, proliferation and tissue remodeling. Each phase of wound healing can be characterized by the secretion of cytokines, chemokines and growth factors.


The production of inflammatory parameters (tumor necrosis factor α [TNF-α], interleukin-6 [IL-6], IL-8 and IL-12 and cyclooxygenase-2 [COX-2]), angiogenesis parameters (vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF], granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor) and matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3 and MMP-9) by NHDFs and NHEKs were examined by ELISA or Western blot after 24 and 48 hours of incubation with AgNPs.


We found that AgNPs decreased some inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α and IL-12) and growth factors (VEGF) that were produced by NHDFs and NHEKs after 24 and 48 hours and decreased the expression of COX-2 after 24 hours but only at the highest concentration of AgNPs (25 parts per million).


The results indicate that NHEKs are more susceptible to the application of AgNPs than NHDFs, and AgNPs may be useful for medical applications for the treatment of wounds.

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