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Paper published in Nanoscale by Zhaohui Cao et. al.

Date released: 2017-05-03

Title:In vitro cellular behaviors and toxicity assays of small-sized fluorescent silicon nanoparticles

Authors:Zhaohui Cao‡, Fei Peng‡(co-first author), Zhilin Hu‡(co-first author), Binbin Chu, Yiling Zhong, Yuanyuan Su*, Sudan He*,and Yao He*

a.Institute of Functional Nano & Soft Materials (FUNSOM), Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Carbon-Based Functional Materials and Devices, Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215123, China.

b.Cyrus Tang Hematology Center and Collaborative Innovation Center of Hematology, Soochow University, Suzhou 215123, China

Abstract:Extensive investigations have been carried out for evaluating the toxicology of various nanomaterials (e.g., carbon- and metal-based nanomaterials), which offer invaluable information for assessing feasibility of nanomaterials-based wideranging applications. In recent years, sufficient efforts have been made to develop fluorescent small-sized silicon nanoparticles (SiNPs) as novel optical material simultaneously featuring strong fluorescence and ultrahigh photostability, providing high promise for myriad biological, biomedical and electronic applications. It is worth pointing out that, despite non- or low-toxicity of silicon, sufficient and objective toxicology evaluation of SiNPs is urgently required in both in vitro and in vivo level. However, there currently exists scanty information about intracellular behaviors of the SiNPs, particularly the underlying mechanism of entry into cells and intracellular fate. Herein, we give a report aimed at determining the uptake and intracellular transport of SiNPs of ca. 4 nm diameter. Taking advantages of strong and stable fluorescent signals of SiNPs, we reveal that these small-sized SiNPs accumulate at the plasma membrane prior to internalization, and are further internalized predominantly by clathrin-mediated and caveolae-dependent endocytosis. After endocytosis, the SiNPs are localized in early endosomes in short time (~ 1 h), while up to 24-h incubation the SiNPs are mainly transported to lysosomes in a microtubule-dependent way; and interestingly, to a smaller extent are sorted to Golgi apparatus. Moreover, we demonstrate that there are no toxic effects of SiNPs on cell metabolic activity and integrity of plasma membrane.



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