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Interference Of Engineered Nanoparticles With In Vitro Toxicity Assays

A. Kroll, M. H. Pillukat, D. Hahn, J. Schnekenburger
Published 2012 · Chemistry, Medicine

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Accurate in vitro assessment of nanoparticle cytotoxicity requires a careful selection of the test systems. Due to high adsorption capacity and optical activity, engineered nanoparticles are highly potential in influencing classical cytotoxicity assays. Here, four common in vitro assays for oxidative stress, cell viability, cell death and inflammatory cytokine production (DCF, MTT, LDH and IL-8 ELISA) were assessed for validity using 24 well-characterized engineered nanoparticles. For all nanoparticles, the possible interference with the optical detection methods, the ability to convert the substrates, the influence on enzymatic activity and the potential to bind proinflammatory cytokines were analyzed in detail. Results varied considerably depending on the assay system used. All nanoparticles tested were found to interfere with the optical measurement at concentrations of 50 μg cm−2 and above when DCF, MTT and LDH assays were performed. Except for Carbon Black, particle interference could be prevented by altering assay protocols and lowering particle concentrations to 10 μg cm−2. Carbon Black was also found to oxidize H2DCF-DA in a cell-free system, whereas only ZnO nanoparticles significantly decreased LDH activity. A dramatic loss of immunoreactive IL-8 was observed for only one of the three TiO2 particle types tested. Our results demonstrate that engineered nanoparticles interfere with classic cytotoxicity assays in a highly concentration-, particle- and assay-specific manner. These findings strongly suggest that each in vitro test system has to be evaluated for each single nanoparticle type to accurately assess the nanoparticle toxicity.
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