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Effect of Functionalization of Carbon Nanotubes with Psychosine on Complement Activation and Protein Adsorption

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Carbon nanotubes possess interesting physicochemical properties which make them potentially usable in medicine. Single-walled carbon nanotubes and multi-walled carbon nanotubes, for example, may carry and deliver anticancer drugs, such as cisplatin. Magnetic nanoparticles, like iron filled MWCNT, can be used in hyperthermia therapy. However, their hydrophobic character is a major difficulty, as preparation of stable dispersions of carbon nanotubes in biological buffers is an essential step towards biomedical applications. Recently, a novel treatment using the glycolipid, Galactosyl-β1-sphingosine (psychosine), was employed to make stable suspensions of psychosine-functionalized carbon nanotubes in biological buffers. In this paper, the interactions of psychosine-functionalized carbon nanotubes with a part of the human immune system, complement, is presented. To investigate if human serum complement proteins can interact with psychosine-functionalized carbon nanotubes, complement consumption (depletion) assays were conducted. Moreover, direct protein binding studies, to analyze the interaction of plasma proteins with the psychosine-functionalized carbon nanotubes, using affinity chromatography and sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis techniques, were applied. The psychosine-functionalized carbon nanotubes activate human complement via the classical pathway. Interestingly, as the hydrophilic part of the glycolipid may bind to ficolins, the lectin pathway could also be involved. Binding of human plasma proteins is very selective as only very few proteins adsorb to the psychosine-functionalized carbon nanotube surface, when placed in contact with human plasma. Bovine serum albumin-coated carbon nanotubes were used as a standard to find the differences in complement activation and protein adsorption patterns, caused by various non-covalent coatings of carbon nanotubes.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1166/jbn.2011.1347

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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  • Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology (JBN) is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal providing broad coverage in all research areas focused on the applications of nanotechnology in medicine, drug delivery systems, infectious disease, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, and all other related fields of life sciences.
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