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Increasing Uptake Of Silica Nanoparticles With Electroporation: From Cellular Characterization To Potential Applications

Erick Phonesouk, S. Lechevallier, A. Ferrand, M. Rols, C. Bezombes, M. Verelst, M. Golzio
Published 2019 · Chemistry, Medicine

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In the fields of biology and medicine, nanoproducts such as nanoparticles (NPs) are specifically interesting as theranostic tools, since they offer the double capacity to locally deliver active drugs and to image exactly where the product is delivered. Among the many described possibilities, silica nanoparticles (SiNPs) represent a good choice because of their ease of synthesis, the possibility of their vast functionalization, and their good biocompatibility. However, SiNPs’ passive cell internalization by endocytosis only distributes NPs into the cell cytoplasm and is unable to target the nucleus if SiNPs are larger than a few nanometers. In this study, we demonstrate that the cell penetration of SiNPs of 28–30 nm in diameter can be strongly enhanced using a physical method, called electroporation or electropermeabilization (EP). The uptake of fluorescently labelled silica nanoparticles was improved in two different cancer cell lines, namely, HCT-116 (human colon cancer) cells and RL (B-lymphoma) cells. First, we studied cells’ capability for the regular passive uptake of SiNPs in vitro. Then, we set EP parameters in order to induce a more efficient and rapid cell loading, also comprising the nuclear compartment, while preserving the cell viability. In the final approach, we performed in vivo experiments, and evidenced that the labeling was long-lasting, as confirmed by fluorescence imaging of labeled tumors, which enabled a 30-day follow-up. This kind of SiNPs delivery, achieved by EP, could be employed to load extensive amounts of active ingredients into the cell nucleus, and concomitantly allow the monitoring of the long-term fate of nanoparticles.
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