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Comparison of In Vitro Tests for Antioxidant Capacities and Immunomodulatory Properties of Chemicals

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The increasing utilization of nanoparticles bears potential risks for human health as well as the environment. Many nanoparticles have been shown to influence cellular redox-circuits and immune system homeostasis. Some of them are potent oxidants that lead to oxidative stress, while some of them are potent antioxidants with the capability to scavenge reactive oxygen species. Therefore, the evaluation of the capacity of nanoparticles to interfere with redox-homeostasis and the immune system represents an important strategy to sensitively detect and predict potentially harmful effects of nanoparticles. Our study investigated and compared the antioxidant and immunomodulatory capacity of the well described antioxidants ebselen, sulforaphane (SFN) and vitamin E analogue Trolox employing three different methods, namely the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) test, the cell-based antioxidant activity (CAA) assay and a cell culture model using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) stimulated or not with 10 μg/ml mitogen phytohemagglutinin (PHA). In the PBMC assay, immunomodulatory effects mediated by compounds were determined by measurement of neopterin production and tryptophan degradation. Trolox showed high antioxidant capacity in the ORAC- and CAA-assay, while ebselen and SFN had almost no such effect. In contrast, Trolox had only little influence on PBMC, whereas ebselen and SFN suppressed neopterin production and tryptophan degradation in a dose dependent manner. This study shows that the three test systems used give different results regarding antioxidant capacities of compounds and their effect on the immune system. The more simple physicochemical tests, ORAC and CAA, cannot fully predict the capacity of compounds to interact with the immune system. This fact needs to be considered when the effects of nanoparticles on biological systems are being tested in vitro.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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  • Bionanoscience attempts to harness various functions of biological macromolecules and integrate them with engineering for technological applications. It is based on a bottom-up approach and encompasses structural biology, biomacromolecular engineering, material science, and engineering, extending the horizon of material science. The journal aims at publication of (i) Letters (ii) Reviews (3) Concepts (4) Rapid communications (5) Research papers (6) Book reviews (7) Conference announcements in the interface between chemistry, physics, biology, material science, and technology. The use of biological macromolecules as sensors, biomaterials, information storage devices, biomolecular arrays, molecular machines is significantly increasing. The traditional disciplines of chemistry, physics, and biology are overlapping and coalescing with nanoscale science and technology. Currently research in this area is scattered in different journals and this journal seeks to bring them under a single umbrella to ensure highest quality peer-reviewed research for rapid dissemination in areas that are in the forefront of science and technology which is witnessing phenomenal and accelerated growth.
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