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Effect of Nanoparticle Surface Coating on Cell Toxicity and Mitochondria Uptake

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We report on the effect of surface charge and the ligand coating composition of CdSe/ZnS core/shell quantum dot (QD) nanoparticles on human keratinocyte toxicity using fluorescent microscopy, flow cytometry, transmission electron microscopy. Two commonly reported positive charged (cysteamine, polyethylenimine) and two negative charged (glutathione, dihydrolipoic acid) ligands were studied. The QDs were fully characterized by UV-vis absorption spectroscopy, fluorescence emission spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering and zeta potential. Differences in surface coatings and charges were evaluated against cellular uptake, ROS generation, cytotoxicity, and mitochondrial targeting. Results show that the negative charged QDs coated with GSH exhibit excellent water solubility, high quantum yield and low cytotoxicity. Ligand composition is more important in ROS generation than surface charge whereas surface charge is an important driver of cytotoxicity. Most importantly we observe the selective accumulation of glutathione coated QDs in vesicles in the mitochondria matrix. This observation suggests a new strategy for developing mitochondria-targeted nanomaterials for drug/gene delivery.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2017

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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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