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Investigation Of The Immune Modulatory Potential Of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles In Human Lymphocytes

Helena Moratin, Pascal Ickrath, Agmal Scherzad, Till Jasper Meyer, Sebastian Naczenski, Rudolf Hagen, Stephan Hackenberg

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Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NP) are commonly used for a variety of applications in everyday life. In addition, due to its versatility, nanotechnology supports promising approaches in the medical sector. NP can act as drug-carriers in the context of targeted chemo- or immunotherapy, and might also exhibit autonomous immune-modulatory characteristics. Knowledge of potential immunosuppressive or stimulating effects of NP is indispensable for the safety of consumers as well as patients. In this study, primary human peripheral blood lymphocytes of 9 donors were treated with different sub-cytotoxic concentrations of ZnO-NP for the duration of 1, 2, or 3 days. Flow cytometry was performed to investigate changes in the activation profile and the proportion of T cell subpopulations. ZnO-NP applied in this study did not induce any significant alterations in the examined markers, indicating their lack of impairment in terms of immune modulation. However, physicochemical characteristics exert a major influence on NP-associated bioactivity. To allow a precise simulation of the complex molecular processes of immune modulation, a physiological model including the different components of an immune response is needed.