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CYTOTOXICITY AND CELLULAR UPTAKE OF CELLULOSE NANOCRYSTALS

SHUPING DONG, ANJALI A. HIRANI, KATELYN R. COLACINO, YONG WOO LEE, MAREN ROMAN

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There is growing evidence that filamentous nanoparticles offer advantages over spherical ones in drug delivery applications. The purpose of this study was to assess the potential of rod-like, plant-derived cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) for nanomedical uses. Besides a nonspherical morphology, their facile bioconjugation, surface hydrophilicity and small size render CNCs promising drug carriers. The cytotoxicity of CNCs against nine different cell lines (HBMEC, bEnd.3, RAW 264.7, MCF-10A, MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-468, KB, PC-3 and C6) was determined by MTT and LDH assay. CNCs showed no cytotoxic effects against any of these cell lines in the concentration range and exposure time studied (0–50 μg/mL and 48 h, respectively). Cellular uptake of fluorescein-5′-isothiocyanate-labeled CNCs by these cell lines, quantified with a fluorescence microplate reader, was minimal. The lack of cytotoxicity and the low nonspecific cellular uptake support our hypothesis that CNCs are good candidates for nanomedical applications.