The applicability of small interfering RNA (siRNA) in future therapies depends on the availability of safe and efficient carrier systems. Ideally, siRNA delivery requires a system that is stable in the circulation, but upon specific uptake into target cells can rapidly release its cargo into the cytoplasm. Previously, we evaluated a novel generation of carrier systems ('decationized' polyplexes) for DNA delivery and it was shown that folate targeted decationized polyplexes had an excellent safety profile and showed intracellular triggered release upon cell specific uptake. Targeted decationized polyplexes consist of a core of disulfide crosslinked poly(hydroxypropyl methacrylamide) (pHPMA) stably entrapping nucleic acids and a shell of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) decorated with folate molecules. In the present study the applicability of folate targeted decationized polyplexes for siRNA delivery was investigated. This required optimization of the carrier system particularly regarding the crosslinking density of the core of the polyplexes. Stable and nanosized siRNA decationized polyplexes were successfully prepared by optimizing the crosslink density of their core. Upon incubation in human plasma, a significant portion of siRNA remained entrapped in the decationized polyplexes as determined by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS). When tested in a folate receptor overexpressing cell line stably expressing luciferase, Skov3-luc, sequence specific gene silencing was observed. As expected, neither interference on the intrinsic luciferase expression nor on the cell metabolic activity (determined by XTT) was induced by the free-polymer or the siRNA polyplexes. In conclusion, targeted decationized polyplexes are safe and stable carriers that interact with the targeted cells and rapidly disassemble upon cell entry making them promising siRNA delivery systems.
Equine embryos remain for 6 days in the oviduct and thus there is a need for an in vitro model to study embryo-oviductal interactions in the horse, since this subtle way of communication is very difficult to analyse in vivo. Until now, no equine oviduct explant culture model has been characterised both morphologically and functionally. Therefore, we established a culture system for equine oviduct explants that maintained epithelial morphology during 6 days of culture, as revealed by light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. We demonstrated the presence of highly differentiated, tall columnar, pseudostratified epithelium with basal nuclei, numerous nucleoli, secretory granules and apical cilia, which is very similar to the in vivo situation. Both epithelium and stromal cells originating from the lamina propria are represented in the explants. Moreover, at least 98% of the cells remained membrane intact and fewer than 2% of the cells were apoptotic after 6 days of culture. Although dark-cell degeneration, which is a hypoxia-related type of cell death, was observed in the centre of the explants, quantitative real-time PCR failed to detect upregulation of the hypoxia-related marker genes HIF1A, VEGFA, uPA, GLUT1 and PAI1. Since the explants remained morphologically and functionally intact and since the system is easy to set up, it appears to be an excellent tool for proteome, transcriptome and miRNome analysis in order to unravel embryo-maternal interactions in the horse.
Autophagy or 'self-eating' is a process by which defective organelles and foreign material can be cleared from the cell's cytoplasm and delivered to the lysosomes in which degradation occurs. It remains an open question, however, whether nanoparticles that did not enter the cell through endocytosis can also be captured from the cytoplasm by autophagy. We demonstrate that nanoparticles that are introduced directly in the cytoplasm of the cells by microinjection, can trigger an autophagy response. Moreover, both polystyrene beads and plasmid DNA containing poly-ethylene-imine complexes colocalize with autophagosomes and lysosomes, as was confirmed by electron microscopy. This indicates that cytoplasmic capturing of nanoparticles can occur by an autophagy response. The capturing of nanoparticles from the cytoplasm most likely limits the time frame in which efficient nucleic acid delivery can be obtained. Hence, autophagy forms an additional barrier to non-viral gene delivery, a notion that was not often taken into account before. Furthermore, these findings urge us to reconsider the idea that a single endosomal escape event is sufficient to have the long-lasting presence of nanoparticles in the cytoplasm of the cells.
Encapsulation of antibiotics into nanoparticles is a potential strategy to eradicate biofilms. To allow further optimization of nanomedicines for biofilm eradication, the influence of the nanoparticle size on the penetration into dense biofilm clusters needs to be investigated. In the present study, the penetration of nanoparticles with diameters ranging from 40 to 550nm into two biofilms, Burkholderia multivorans LMG 18825 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa LMG 27622, was evaluated using confocal microscopy. Through image analysis, the percentage of particles able to penetrate into dense biofilm clusters was calculated. The size cut off for optimal penetration into biofilm clusters was located around 100-130nm for both biofilms. The mesh size of the biofilm matrix and the size of the channels in between the bacteria of the clusters are two factors which likely play a role in the exclusion of the larger particles. For B. multivorans, a sharp drop in the penetration into the clusters is seen for particles larger than 130nm while for P. aeruginosa, a more gradual decrease in penetration could be observed. The overall penetration of the nanoparticles was slightly lower for P. aeruginosa than for B. multivorans. Based on these results, it could be concluded that nanocarriers of about 100nm and smaller are good candidates to improve the treatment of chronic pulmonary biofilms in CF patients. Furthermore, the confocal microscopy method demonstrated here is a useful tool to assess the penetration of nanomedicines in biofilm clusters. Such information is important to optimize nanomedicine formulations for the treatment of biofilm infections.
We report on the synthesis of luminescent CdSe/CdS@SiO2 nanoparticles and their application to cell labeling. The main novelty of these nanoparticles is the use of newly developed "flash" CdSe/CdS quantum dots (QDs), which are obtained through a new fast and efficient synthesis method recently reported. These core-shell QDs are encapsulated in silica nanoparticles through a water-in-oil microemulsion process, resulting in CdSe/CdS@SiO2 nanoparticles with good morphology and controlled architecture. The main asset of these luminescent nanoparticles is their high photoluminescent quantum yield, which is equal to that of the original CdSe/CdS QDs and remains unchanged even after several months of storage in water. Thanks to the remarkable stability of their optical property in aqueous environment and to their low levels of toxicity, the high potential of these nanoparticles for long-term cell labeling is demonstrated.
Many macromolecular therapeutics could potentially treat genetic disorders and cancer. They have, however, not yet reached the clinical stage owing to a lack of suitable carriers that can bring the therapeutics from the administration site to the subcellular site in target cells. One of the reasons that is hindering the development of such carriers is the limited knowledge of their transport dynamics and intracellular processing. Single-particle tracking (SPT) microscopy, thanks to its single molecule sensitivity and its broad applicability, has found its entry in the field of drug delivery to get an answer to these questions. This review aims to introduce the fundamentals of SPT to the drug delivery community and highlight the most recent discoveries obtained with SPT in the field of drug delivery.
Many polycation-based gene delivery vectors show high transfection in vitro, but their cationic nature generally leads to significant toxicity and poor in vivo performance which significantly hampers their clinical applicability. Unlike conventional polycation-based systems, decationized polyplexes are based on hydrophilic and neutral polymers. They are obtained by a 3-step process: charge-driven condensation followed by disulfide crosslinking stabilization and finally polyplex decationization. They consist of a disulfide-crosslinked poly(hydroxypropyl methacrylamide) (pHPMA) core stably entrapping plasmid DNA (pDNA), surrounded by a shell of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG). In the present paper the applicability of decationized polyplexes for systemic administration was evaluated. Cy5-labeled decationized polyplexes were evaluated for stability in plasma by fluorescence single particle tracking (fSPT), which technique showed stable size distribution for 48h unlike its cationic counterpart. Upon the incubation of the polymers used for the formation of polyplexes with HUVEC cells, MTT assay showed excellent cytocompatibility of the neutral polymers. The safety was further demonstrated by a remarkable low teratogenicity and mortality activity of the polymers in a zebrafish assay, in great contrast with their cationic counterpart. Near infrared (NIR) dye-labeled polyplexes were evaluated for biodistribution and tumor accumulation by noninvasive optical imaging when administered systemically in tumor bearing mice. Decationized polyplexes exhibited an increased circulation time and higher tumor accumulation, when compared to their cationic precursors. Histology of tumors sections showed that decationized polyplexes induced reporter transgene expression in vivo. In conclusion, decationized polyplexes are a platform for safer polymeric vectors with improved biodistribution properties when systemically administered.
The use of quantum dots (QDots) as bright and photostable probes for long-term fluorescence imaging is gaining more interest. Thus far, (pre)clinical use of QDots remains limited, which is primarily caused by the potential toxicity of QDots. Most QDots consist of Cd2+ ions, which are known to cause high levels of toxicity. In order to overcome this problem, several strategies have been tested, such as the generation of cadmium-free QDots. In the present study, two types of cadmium-free QDots, composed of ZnSe/ZnS (QDotZnSe) and InP/ZnS (QDotInP), were studied with respect to their cytotoxicity and cellular uptake in a variety of cell types. A multiparametric cytotoxicity approach is used, where the QDots are studied with respect to cell viability, oxidative stress, cell morphology, stem cell differentiation, and neurite outgrowth. The data reveal slight differences in uptake levels for both types of QDots (maximal for QDotZnSe), but clear differences in cytotoxicity and cell functionality effects exist, with highest toxicity for QDotZnSe. Differences between cell types and between both types of QDots can be explained by the intrinsic sensitivity of certain cell types and chemical composition of the QDots. At concentrations at which no toxic effects can be observed, the functionality of the QDots for fluorescence cell visualization is evaluated, revealing that the higher brightness of QDotZnSe overcomes most of the toxicity issues compared to that of QDotInP. Comparing the results obtained with common Cd2+-containing QDots tested under identical conditions, the importance of particle functionality is demonstrated, revealing that cadmium-free QDots tested in this study are not significantly better than Cd2+-containing QDots for long-term cell imaging and that more work needs to be performed in optimizing the brightness and surface chemistry of cadmium-free QDots for them to replace currently used Cd2+-containing QDots.
There is a great interest in delivering macromolecular agents into living cells for therapeutic purposes, such as siRNA for gene silencing. Although substantial effort has gone into designing nonviral nanocarriers for delivering macromolecules into cells, translocation of the therapeutic molecules from the endosomes after endocytosis into the cytoplasm remains a major bottleneck. Laser-induced photoporation, especially in combination with gold nanoparticles, is an alternative physical method that is receiving increasing attention for delivering macromolecules in cells. By allowing gold nanoparticles to bind to the cell membrane, nanosized membrane pores can be created upon pulsed laser illumination. Depending on the laser energy, pores are created through either direct heating of the AuNPs or by vapor nanobubbles (VNBs) that can emerge around the AuNPs. Macromolecules in the surrounding cell medium can then diffuse through the pores directly into the cytoplasm. Here we present a systematic evaluation of both photoporation mechanisms in terms of cytotoxicity, cell loading, and siRNA transfection efficiency. We find that the delivery of macromolecules under conditions of VNBs is much more efficient than direct photothermal disturbance of the plasma membrane without any noticeable cytotoxic effect. Interestingly, by tuning the laser energy, the pore size could be changed, allowing control of the amount and size of molecules that are delivered in the cytoplasm. As only a single nanosecond laser pulse is required, we conclude that VNBs are an interesting photoporation mechanism that may prove very useful for efficient high-throughput macromolecular delivery in live cells.
Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) is one of the most useful microscopy techniques for studying the mobility of molecules in terms of a diffusion coefficient. Here, we describe a FRAP method that allows such measurements, relying on the photobleaching of a rectangular region of any size and aspect ratio. We start with a brief overview of the rectangle FRAP theory, and next we provide guidelines for performing FRAP measurements, including a discussion of the experimental setup and the data analysis. Finally, we discuss how to verify correct use of the rectangle FRAP method using test solutions.
This study describes a novel liposomal formulation for siRNA delivery, based on the mixture of the neutral lipid monoolein (MO) and cationic lipids of the dioctadecyldimethylammonium (DODA) family. The cationic lipids dioctadecyldimethylammonium bromide (DODAB) and chloride (DODAC) were compared in order to identify which one will most efficiently induce gene silencing. MO has a fluidizing effect on DODAC and DODAB liposomes, although it was more homogeneously distributed in DODAC bilayers. All MO-based liposomal formulations were able to efficiently encapsulate siRNA. Stable lipoplexes of small size (100-160 nm) with a positive surface charge (>+45 mV) were formed. A more uniform MO incorporation in DODAC:MO may explain an increase of the fusogenic potential of these liposomes. The siRNA-lipoplexes were readily internalized by human nonsmall cell lung carcinoma (H1299) cells, in an energy dependent process. DODAB:MO nanocarriers showed a higher internalization efficiency in comparison to DODAC:MO lipoplexes, and were also more efficient in promoting gene silencing. MO had a similar gene silencing ability as the commonly used helper lipid 1,2-dioleyl-3-phosphatidylethanolamine (DOPE), but with much lower cytotoxicity. Taking in consideration all the results presented, DODAB:MO liposomes are the most promising tested formulation for systemic siRNA delivery.
The development of biotechnological pharmaceutics, like macro- and nanocarriers, can benefit greatly from studying their characteristics in situ using advanced fluorescence microscopy methods. While choosing the optimal labeling method for visualizing the carrier or its cargo is crucial, it seldom receives attention. The possibility that high labeling densities alter the intracellular processing of the molecule is considered, but how and at which point this interference happens is not yet studied. The aim of this study was to elucidate the effect of labeling density on the cellular trafficking of labeled pDNA. Due to the drastic effect on expression levels for higher labeling densities, we tried to determine at which steps in the intracellular processing labeled pDNA behaves different than its nonlabeled counterpart. Therefore, different labeling densities, up to the manufacturer's recommended density, were tested. It was found that the cellular uptake remains unaffected, while the affinity for lipids is increased, which affects dissociation from the lipid-based complex and may affect endosomal escape. Also, nuclear injections clearly demonstrated that transcription is affected. The information and methodology, included in this work, could be helpful in determining if the labeling method and density used yields biological relevant results for the intended research question.
The interest in using quantum dots (QDots) as highly fluorescent and photostable nanoparticles in biomedicine is vastly increasing. One major hurdle that slows down the (pre)clinical translation of QDots is their potential toxicity. Several strategies have been employed to optimize common core-shell QDots, such as the use of gradient alloy (GA)-QDots. These particles no longer have a size-dependent emission wavelength, but the emission rather depends on the chemical composition of the gradient layer. Therefore, particles of identical sizes but with emission maxima spanning the entire visible spectrum can be generated. In the present study, two types of GA-QDots are studied with respect to their cytotoxicity and cellular uptake. A multiparametric cytotoxicity approach reveals concentration-dependent effects on cell viability, oxidative stress, cell morphology and cell functionality (stem cell differentiation and neurite outgrowth), where the particles are very robust against environmentally-induced breakdown. Non-toxic concentrations are defined and compared to common core-shell QDots analyzed under identical conditions. Additionally, this value is translated into a functional value by analyzing the potential of the particles for cell visualization. Interestingly, these particles result in clear endosomal localization, where different particles result in identical intracellular distributions. This is in contrast with CdTe QDots with the same surface coating, which resulted in clearly distinct intracellular distributions as a result of differences in nanoparticle diameter. The GA-QDots are therefore ideal platforms for cell labeling studies given their high brightness, low cytotoxicity and identical sizes, resulting in highly similar intracellular particle distributions which offer a lot of potential for optimizing drug delivery strategies.
Intraperitoneal (IP) administration of nano-sized delivery vehicles containing small interfering RNA (siRNA) has recently gained attention as an alternative route for the efficient treatment of peritoneal carcinomatosis. The colloidal stability of nanomatter following IP administration has, however, not been thoroughly investigated yet. Here, enabled by advanced microscopy methods such as single particle tracking and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, we follow the aggregation and cargo release of nano-scaled systems directly in peritoneal fluids from healthy mice and ascites fluid from a patient diagnosed with peritoneal carcinomatosis. The colloidal stability in the peritoneal fluids was systematically studied as a function of the charge (positive or negative) and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) degree of liposomes and polystyrene nanoparticles, and compared to human serum. Our data demonstrate strong aggregation of cationic and anionic nanoparticles in the peritoneal fluids, while only slight aggregation was observed for the PEGylated ones. PEGylated liposomes, however, lead to a fast and premature release of siRNA cargo in the peritoneal fluids. Based on our observations, we reflect on how to tailor improved delivery systems for IP therapy.
Biofilms are matrix-enclosed communities of bacteria that show increased antibiotic resistance and the capability to evade the immune system. They can cause recalcitrant infections which cannot be cured with classical antibiotic therapy. Drug delivery by lipid or polymer nanoparticles is considered a promising strategy for overcoming biofilm resistance. These particles are able to improve the delivery of antibiotics to the bacterial cells, thereby increasing the efficacy of the treatment. In this review we give an overview of the types of polymer and lipid nanoparticles that have been developed for this purpose. The antimicrobial activity of nanoparticle encapsulated antibiotics compared to the activity of the free antibiotic is discussed in detail. In addition, targeting and triggered drug release strategies to further improve the antimicrobial activity are reviewed. Finally, ample attention is given to advanced microscopy methods that shed light on the behavior of nanoparticles inside biofilms, allowing further optimization of the nanoformulations. Lipid and polymer nanoparticles were found to increase the antimicrobial efficacy in many cases. Strategies such as the use of fusogenic liposomes, targeting of the nanoparticles and triggered release of the antimicrobial agent ensured the delivery of the antimicrobial agent in close proximity of the bacterial cells, maximizing the exposure of the biofilm to the antimicrobial agent. The majority of the discussed papers still present data on the in vitro anti-biofilm activity of nanoformulations, indicating that there is an urgent need for more in vivo studies in this field.
Immunostaining is the preferred technique to assess differences in methylation and hydroxymethylation status of both pronuclei in single zygotes. DNA counterstaining is needed to delimitate the pronuclear area for quantification purposes. For a correct epitope retrieval of 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in bovine zygotes, 1h of denaturation with 4N HCl is needed. However, DNA stains are sensitive to denaturation. Therefore, four DNA stains were tested after 1h of denaturation with 4N HCl in this study. After this treatment, DAPI (4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole) and Hoechst failed to bind DNA, but both propidium iodide and ethidium homodimer-2 successfully bound it and both pronuclei were stained.
Methods based on single-molecule localization and photophysics have brought nanoscale imaging with visible light into reach. This has enabled single-particle tracking applications for studying the dynamics of molecules and nanoparticles and contributed to the recent revolution in super-resolution localization microscopy techniques. Crucial to the optimization of such methods are the precision and accuracy with which single fluorophores and nanoparticles can be localized. We present a lucid synthesis of the developments on this localization precision and accuracy and their practical implications in order to guide the increasing number of researchers using single-particle tracking and super-resolution localization microscopy.
Swine influenza virus (SIV) has a strong tropism for pig respiratory mucosa, which consists of a mucus layer, epithelium, basement membrane and lamina propria. Sialic acids present on the epithelial surface have long been considered to be determinants of influenza virus tropism. However, mucus which is also rich in sialic acids may serve as the first barrier of selection. It was investigated how influenza virus interacts with the mucus to infect epithelial cells. Two techniques were applied to track SIV H1N1 in porcine mucus. The microscopic diffusion of SIV particles in the mucus was analyzed by single particle tracking (SPT), and the macroscopic penetration of SIV through mucus was studied by a virus in-capsule-mucus penetration system, followed by visualizing the translocation of the virions with time by immunofluorescence staining. Furthermore, the effects of neuraminidase on SIV getting through or binding to the mucus were studied by using zanamivir, a neuraminidase inhibitor (NAI), and Arthrobacter ureafaciens neuraminidase. The distribution of the diffusion coefficient shows that 70% of SIV particles were entrapped, while the rest diffused freely in the mucus. Additionally, SIV penetrated the porcine mucus with time, reaching a depth of 65 µm at 30 min post virus addition, 2 fold of that at 2 min. Both the microscopic diffusion and macroscopic penetration were largely diminished by NAI, while were clearly increased by the effect of exogenous neuraminidase. Moreover, the exogenous neuraminidase sufficiently prevented the binding of SIV to mucus which was reversely enhanced by effect of NAI. These findings clearly show that the neuraminidase helps SIV move through the mucus, which is important for the virus to reach and infect epithelial cells and eventually become shed into the lumen of the respiratory tract.
The advent of nanotechnology has revolutionized drug delivery in terms of improving drug efficacy and safety. Both polymer-based and lipid-based drug-loaded nanocarriers have demonstrated clinical benefit to date. However, to address the multifaceted drug delivery challenges ahead and further expand the spectrum of therapeutic applications, hybrid lipid-polymer nanocomposites have been designed to merge the beneficial features of both polymeric drug delivery systems and liposomes in a single nanocarrier. This review focuses on different classes of nanohybrids characterized by a drug-loaded polymeric matrix core enclosed in a lipid shell. Various nanoengineering approaches to obtain lipid-polymer nanocomposites with a core-shell nanoarchitecture will be discussed as well as their predominant applications in drug delivery.
The number of newly engineered nanomaterials is vastly increasing along with their applications. Despite the fact that there is a lot of interest and effort is being put into the development of nano-based biomedical applications, the level of translational clinical output remains limited due to uncertainty in the toxicological profiles of the nanoparticles (NPs). As NPs used in biomedicines are likely to directly interact with cells and biomolecules, it is imperative to rule out any adverse effect before they can be safely applied. The initial screening for nanotoxicity is preferably performed in vitro, but extrapolation to the in vivo outcome remains very challenging. In addition, generated in vitro and in vivo data are often conflicting, which consolidates the in vitro-in vivo gap and impedes the formulation of unambiguous conclusions on NP toxicity. Consequently, more consistent and relevant in vitro and in vivo data need to be acquired in order to bridge this gap. This is in turn in conflict with the efforts to reduce the number of animals used for in vivo toxicity testing. Therefore the need for more reliable in vitro models with a higher predictive power, mimicking the in vivo environment more closely, becomes more prominent. In this review we will discuss the current paradigm and routine methods for nanotoxicity evaluation, and give an overview of adjustments that can be made to the cultivation systems in order to optimise current in vitro models. We will also describe various novel model systems and highlight future prospects.
Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) is a common technique to probe mobility of fluorescently labeled proteins in biological membranes by monitoring the time-dependence of the spatially integrated fluorescence signals after a bleaching pulse. Discrimination by FRAP between free diffusion with an immobile fraction (FDIM) and the phenomenological model for anomalous diffusion based on the time-dependent diffusion coefficient (TDDC) is a challenging problem, requiring extremely long observation times for differentiation. Recently, rectangular FRAP (rFRAP) has been introduced for normal diffusion by considering not only the temporal but also spatial information, taking the effective point spread function of the optical system into account. In this work we provide an extension of rFRAP toward anomalous diffusion according to the continuous time random walk (CTRW). We explore whether the spatial information in rFRAP allows for enhanced discrimination between FDIM, TDDC, and CTRW in a single experiment within a feasible time window. Simulations indicate that rFRAP can indeed differentiate the different models by evaluating the spatial autocorrelation of the differences between the measured and fitted pixel values. Hence, rFRAP offers a tool that is capable of discriminating different types of diffusion at shorter time scales than in the case where spatial information is discarded.
One of the fundamental problems in the analysis of single particle tracking data is the detection of individual particle positions from microscopy images. Distinguishing true particles from noise with a minimum of false positives and false negatives is an important step that will have substantial impact on all further analysis of the data. A common approach is to obtain a plausible set of particles from a larger set of candidate particles by filtering using manually selected threshold values for intensity, size, shape, and other parameters describing a particle. This introduces subjectivity into the analysis and hinders reproducibility. In this paper, we introduce a method for automatic selection of these threshold values based on maximizing temporal correlations in particle count time series. We use Markov Chain Monte Carlo to find the threshold values corresponding to the maximum correlation, and we study several experimental data sets to assess the performance of the method in practice by comparing manually selected threshold values from several independent experts with automatically selected threshold values. We conclude that the method produces useful results, reducing subjectivity and the need for manual intervention, a great benefit being its easy integratability into many already existing particle detection algorithms.
Interactions between objects inside living cells are often investigated by looking for colocalization between fluorescence microscopy images that are recorded in separate colours corresponding to the fluorescent label of each object. The fundamental limitation of this approach in the case of dynamic objects is that coincidental colocalization cannot be distinguished from true interaction. Instead, correlation between motion trajectories obtained by dual colour single particle tracking provides a much stronger indication of interaction. However, frequently occurring phenomena in living cells, such as immobile phases or transient interactions, can limit the correlation to small parts of the trajectories. The method presented here, developed for the detection of interaction, is based on the correlation inside a window that is scanned along the trajectories, covering different subsets of the positions. This scanning window method was validated by simulations and, as an experimental proof of concept, it was applied to the investigation of the intracellular trafficking of polymeric gene complexes by endosomes in living retinal pigment epithelium cells, which is of interest to ocular gene therapy.
Aim: The extent of cell-nanoparticle interactions between a polycationic siRNA nanocarrier system (dextran nanogels) and cultured cells was analyzed. Materials & methods: A multiparametric methodology is introduced to examine the cytotoxic effects of a model siRNA carrier (dextran nanogels) on different cell types, including primary human cells. Using this methodology, the nontoxic concentration of nanogels could be defined and the mechanisms contributing to their toxic profile were unraveled. Results: Above the toxicity threshold, nanogels were found to induce oxidative stress and destabilize the plasma membrane. Furthermore, nanogel-induced cellular stress led to DNA damage, impeded cell functionality and intracellular signaling, resulting in unspecific regulation of gene expression. Conclusion: This methodology shows that current toxicity assays such as the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2yl-)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide assay are not adequate to assess the full spectrum of cell-nanoparticle interactions and more in-depth studies are required. Original submitted 8 May 2012; Revised submitted 3 December 2012; Published online 12 June 2013.
Colloidal semiconductor nanoparticles (quantum dots) have attracted a lot of interest in technological and biomedical research, given their potent fluorescent properties. However, the use of heavy-metal-containing nanoparticles remains an issue of debate. The possible toxic effects of quantum dots remain a hot research topic and several questions such as possible intracellular degradation of quantum dots and the effect thereof on both cell viability and particle functionality remain unresolved. In the present work, poly(methacrylic acid)-coated CdSe/ZnS quantum dots were synthesized and characterized, after which their effects on cultured cells were evaluated using a multiparametric setup. The data reveal that the quantum dots are taken up through endocytosis and when exposed to the low pH of the endosomal structures, they partially degrade and release cadmium ions, which lowers their fluorescence intensity and augments particle toxicity. Using the multiparametric method, the quantum dots were evaluated at non-toxic doses in terms of their ability to visualize labeled cells for longer time periods. The data revealed that comparing different particles in terms of their applied dose is challenging, likely due to difficulties in obtaining accurate nanoparticle concentrations, but evaluating particle toxicity in terms of their biological functionality enables an easy and straightforward comparison.
Therapeutic application of nucleic acids requires their encapsulation in nanosized carriers that enable safe and efficient intracellular delivery. Before the desired site of action is reached, drug-loaded nanoparticles (nanomedicines) encounter numerous extra- and intracellular barriers. Judicious nanocarrier design is highly needed to stimulate nucleic acid delivery across these barriers and maximize the therapeutic benefit. Natural polysaccharides are widely used for biomedical and pharmaceutical applications due to their inherent biocompatibility. At present, there is a growing interest in applying these biopolymers for the development of nanomedicines. This review highlights various polysaccharides and their derivatives, currently employed in the design of nucleic acid nanocarriers. In particular, recent progress made in polysaccharide-assisted nucleic acid delivery is summarized and the specific benefits that polysaccharides might offer to improve the delivery process are critically discussed.
Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) is a fluorescence microscopy technique that has attracted a lot of interest in pharmaceutical research during the last decades. The main purpose of FRAP is to measure diffusion on a micrometer scale in a non-invasive and highly specific way, making it capable of measurements in complicated biomaterials, even in vivo. This has proven to be very useful in the investigation of drug diffusion inside different tissues of the body and in materials for controlled drug delivery. FRAP has even found applications for the improvement of several medical therapies and in the field of diagnostics. In this review, an overview is given of the different applications of FRAP in pharmaceutical research, together with essential guidelines on how to perform and analyse FRAP experiments.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are specialised endogenous carriers of proteins and nucleic acids and are involved in intercellular communication. EVs are therefore proposed as candidate drug delivery systems for the delivery of nucleic acids and other macromolecules. However, the preparation of EV-based drug delivery systems is hampered by the lack of techniques to load the vesicles with nucleic acids. In this work we have now characterised in detail the use of an electroporation method for this purpose. When EVs were electroporated with fluorescently labelled siRNA, siRNA retention was comparable with previously published results (20-25% based on fluorescence spectroscopy and fluorescence fluctuation spectroscopy), and electroporation with unlabelled siRNA resulted in significant siRNA retention in the EV pellet as measured by RT-PCR. Remarkably, when siRNA was electroporated in the absence of EVs, a similar or even greater siRNA retention was measured. Nanoparticle tracking analysis and confocal microscopy showed extensive formation of insoluble siRNA aggregates after electroporation, which could be dramatically reduced by addition of EDTA. Other strategies to reduce aggregate formation, including the use of cuvettes with conductive polymer electrodes and the use of an acidic citrate electroporation buffer, resulted in a more efficient reduction of siRNA precipitation than EDTA. However, under these conditions, siRNA retention was below 0.05% and no significant differences in siRNA retention could be measured between samples electroporated in the presence or absence of EVs. Our results show that electroporation of EVs with siRNA is accompanied by extensive siRNA aggregate formation, which may cause overestimation of the amount of siRNA actually loaded into EVs. Moreover, our data clearly illustrate that electroporation is far less efficient than previously described, and highlight the necessity for alternative methods to prepare siRNA-loaded EVs.
To study charge-dependent interactions of nanoparticles (NPs) with biological media and NP uptake by cells, colloidal gold nanoparticles were modified with amphiphilic polymers to obtain NPs with identical physical properties except for the sign of the charge (negative/positive). This strategy enabled us to solely assess the influence of charge on the interactions of the NPs with proteins and cells, without interference by other effects such as different size and colloidal stability. Our study shows that the number of adsorbed human serum albumin molecules per NP was not influenced by their surface charge. Positively charged NPs were incorporated by cells to a larger extent than negatively charged ones, both in serum-free and serum-containing media. Consequently, with and without protein corona (i.e., in serum-free medium) present, NP internalization depends on the sign of charge. The uptake rate of NPs by cells was higher for positively than for negatively charged NPs. Furthermore, cytotoxicity assays revealed a higher cytotoxicity for positively charged NPs, associated with their enhanced uptake.
Aim: To develop a robust assay to evaluate and compare the intravitreal mobility of nanoparticles in the intact vitreous body. Materials & methods: Excised bovine eyes were prepared to preserve the fragile structure of the vitreous humor, while permitting high-resolution fluorescence microscopy and single-particle tracking analysis of intravitreally injected nanoparticles. This assay was validated by analyzing polystyrene beads and further employed to evaluate gene nanomedicines composed of poly(amido amine)s and plasmid DNA. Results: The assay was able to distinguish immobilized cationic nanoparticles from mobile PEGylated nanoparticles. PEGylation of the polyplexes resulted in a drastic improvement of their mobility. Conclusion: An ex vivo eye model is presented for studying nanoparticle mobility in intact vitreous humor by single-particle tracking microscopy. These results give important guidelines for developing gene- and drug-delivery nanomedicines that are compatible with intravitreal administration. Original submitted 20 April 2012; Revised submitted 22 November 2012.
Topical administration of siRNA nanocarriers is a promising approach in the treatment of pulmonary disorders. Pulmonary surfactant, covering the entire alveolar surface of mammalian lungs, will be one of the first interfaces that siRNA nanocarriers encounter upon inhalation therapy. Therefore, it is of outstanding importance to evaluate the impact of pulmonary surfactant on the performance of siRNA nanocarriers.
Inorganic nanoparticles such as silica particles offer many exciting possibilities for biomedical applications. However, the possible toxicity of these particles remains an issue of debate that seriously impedes their full exploitation. In the present work, commercially available fluorescent silica nanoparticles 25, 45 and 75 nm in diameter optimized for cell labelling (C-Spec® particles) are evaluated with regard to their effects on cultured cells using a novel multiparametric setup. The particles show clear concentration and size-dependent effects, where toxicity is caused by the number and total surface area of cell-associated particles. Cell-associated particles generate a short burst of oxidative stress that, next to inducing cell death, affects cell signalling and impedes cell functionality. For cell labelling purposes, 45 nm diameter silica particles were found to be optimally suited and no adverse effects were noticeable at concentrations of 50 ?g ml(-1) or below. At this safe concentration, the particles were found to still allow fluorescence tracking of cultured cells over longer time periods. In conclusion, the data shown here provide a suitable concentration of silica particles for fluorescent cell labelling and demonstrate that at safe levels, silica particles remain perfectly suitable for fluorescent cell studies.
Paving the way towards the application of polyelectrolyte multilayer capsules in theranostics, we describe diagnostic multi-functionality and drug delivery using multicompartment polymeric capsules which represent the next generation of drug delivery carriers. Their versatility is particularly important for potential applications in the area of theranostics wherein the carriers are endowed with the functionality for both diagnostics and therapy. Responsiveness towards external stimuli is attractive for providing controlled and on-demand release of encapsulated materials. An overview of external stimuli is presented with an emphasis on light as a physical stimulus which has been widely used for activation of microcapsules and release of their contents. In this article we also describe existing and new approaches to build multicompartment microcapsules as well as means available to achieve controlled and triggered release from their subcompartments, with a focus on applications in theranostics. Outlook for future directions in the area are highlighted.
Due to the intrinsic resistance of Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) to many antibiotics and the production of a broad range of virulence factors, lung infections by these bacteria, primarily occurring in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, are very difficult to treat. In addition, the ability of Bcc organisms to form biofilms contributes to their persistence in the CF lung. As Bcc infections are associated with poor clinical outcome, there is an urgent need for new effective therapies to treat these infections. In the present study, we investigated whether liposomal tobramycin displayed an increased anti-biofilm effect against Bcc bacteria compared to free tobramycin. Single particle tracking (SPT) was used to study the transport of positively and negatively charged nanospheres in Bcc biofilms as a model for the transport of liposomes. Negatively charged nanospheres became immobilized in close proximity of biofilm cell clusters, while positively charged nanospheres interacted with fiber-like structures, probably eDNA. Based on these data, encapsulation of tobramycin in negatively charged liposomes appeared promising for targeted drug delivery. However, the anti-biofilm effect of tobramycin encapsulated into neutral or anionic liposomes did not increase compared to that of free tobramycin. Probably, the fusion of the anionic liposomes with the negatively charged bacterial surface of Bcc bacteria was limited by electrostatic repulsive forces. The lack of a substantial anti-biofilm effect of tobramycin encapsulated in neutral liposomes could be further investigated by increasing the liposomal tobramycin concentration. However, this was hampered by the low encapsulation efficiency of tobramycin in these liposomes.
As nanoparticles can cross different cellular barriers and access different tissues, control of their uptake and cellular fate presents a functional approach that will be broadly applicable to nanoscale technologies in cell biology. Here we show that the trafficking of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) through various subcellular membranes of the plant cell is facilitated or inhibited by attaching a suitable functional tag and controlling medium components. This enables a unique control over the uptake and the subcellular distribution of SWCNTs and provides a key strategy to promote their cellular elimination to minimize toxicity. Our results also demonstrate that SWCNTs are involved in a carrier-mediated transport (CMT) inside cells; this is a phenomenon that scientists could use to obtain novel molecular insights into CMT, with the potential translation to advances in subcellular nanobiology.
To gain a better understanding of intracellular processing of nanomedicines, we employed quantitative live-cell fluorescence colocalization microscopy to study endosomal trafficking of polyplexes in retinal pigment epithelium cells. A new, dynamic colocalization algorithm was developed, based on particle tracking and trajectory correlation, allowing for spatiotemporal characterization of internalized polyplexes in comparison with endosomal compartments labeled with EGFP constructs. This revealed early trafficking of the polyplexes specifically to Rab5- and flotillin-2-positive vesicles and subsequent delivery to Rab7 and LAMP1-labeled late endolysosomes where the major fraction of the polyplexes remains entrapped for days, suggesting the functional loss of these nanomedicines. Colocalization of polyplexes with the autophagy marker LC3 suggests for the first time that the process of xenophagy could play an important role in the persistent endosomal entrapment of nanomedicines.
The nucleocytoplasmic partitioning of nanoparticles as a result of cell division is highly relevant to the field of nonviral gene delivery. We reviewed the literature on the intracellular distribution of cell organelles (the endosomal vesicles, Golgi apparatus, endoplasmic reticulum and nucleus), foreign macromolecules (dextrans and plasmid DNA) and inorganic nanoparticles (gold, quantum dot and iron oxide) during mitosis. For nonviral gene delivery particles (lipid- or polymer-based), indirect proof of nuclear entry during mitosis is provided. We also describe how retroviruses and latent DNA viruses take advantage of mitosis to transfer their viral genome and segregate their episomes into the host daughter nuclei. Based on this knowledge, we propose strategies to improve nonviral gene delivery in dividing cells with the ultimate goal of designing nonviral gene delivery systems that are as efficient as their viral counterparts but non-immunogenic, non-oncogenic and easy and inexpensive to prepare.
Obtaining sub-resolution particle positions in fluorescence microscopy images is essential for single particle tracking and high-resolution localization microscopy. While the localization precision of stationary single molecules or particles is well understood, the influence of particle motion during image acquisition has been largely neglected. Here, we address this issue and provide a theoretical description on how particle motion influences the centroid localization precision, both in case of 2-D and 3-D diffusion. In addition, a novel method is proposed, based on dual-channel imaging, for the experimental determination of the localization precision of moving particles. For typical single particle tracking experiments, we show that the localization precision is approximately two-fold worse than expected from the stationary theory. Strikingly, we find that the most popular localization method, based on the fitting of a Gaussian distribution, breaks down for lateral diffusion. Instead, the centroid localization method is found to perform well under all conditions.
Although the behavior of nanoscopic delivery systems in blood is an important parameter when contemplating their intravenous injection, this aspect is often poorly investigated when advancing from in vitro to in vivo experiments. In this paper, the behavior of siRNA loaded dextran nanogels in human plasma and blood is examined using fluorescence fluctuation spectroscopy, platelet aggregometry, flow cytometry and single particle tracking. Our results show that, in contrast to their negatively charged counterparts, positively charged siRNA loaded dextran nanogels cause platelet aggregation and show increased binding to human blood cells. Although PEGylating the nanogels did not have a significant effect on their interaction with blood cells, single particle tracking revealed that it is necessary to prevent their aggregation in human plasma. We therefore conclude that PEGylated negatively charged dextran nanogels are the most suited for further in vivo studies as they do not aggregate in human plasma and exhibit minimal interactions with blood cells.
siRNA therapeutics are currently regarded as promising candidates to make a leap forward in the search for treatments of various hard to cure diseases. In order to exploit the full potential of siRNA based therapeutics, development of delivery systems that can efficiently guide the siRNA molecules to their target without major side effects will be the key to success. Lipid based delivery systems, originating from earlier research in the fields of gene delivery, are the most studied candidates for siRNA delivery. Here we discuss the requirements that need to be met by these siRNA delivery systems to ensure adequate stability after systemic application and subsequent deposition in the target tissue. The encountered hurdles in the blood stream and the solutions proposed in literature are discussed.
We report an efficient strategy to conjugate methacrylamide moieties to the lysine units of lysozyme for co-polymerization and subsequent triggered release from hydrogels. Two novel linker molecules, containing an ester bond and/or a disulfide bond for temporary immobilization, were synthesized and conjugated to lysozyme. Lysozyme was successfully modified with on average 2.5 linker molecules per protein molecule, as evidenced by MALDI-TOF and by titration of the free amine groups, while spectral analysis verified the preservation of the protein structure. Next, methacrylated dextran (Dex-MA) was polymerized in presence of native or modified lysozyme to yield hydrogels. The release of native and modified lysozyme from Dex-MA hydrogels was studied in acetate buffer (pH 5, in absence of any trigger) and only a minor fraction (~15%) of the modified lysozyme was released, whereas ~74% of the native lysozyme was released. This indicates successful immobilization of the majority of the modified lysozyme in the hydrogel network. Upon hydrolysis of the ester bonds or incubation with glutathione to reduce disulfide bonds of the linker molecules that conjugate the lysozyme to the gel network, the modified lysozyme was mobilized and released from the hydrogel to the same extent as native lysozyme. These data were confirmed by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching experiments. This approach appeared to be highly interesting for temporary immobilization and subsequent glutathione triggered intracellular delivery of proteins from hydrogels.
Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) carried out on a confocal laser-scanning microscope (CLSM) performs well for photobleached disks that are large compared to the resolution of the bleaching beam. For smaller disks approaching this resolution, current FRAP models providing a closed-form solution do not allow one to extract the diffusion coefficient accurately. The new generalized disk model we present addresses this shortcoming by bringing into account the bleaching resolution and the total confocal imaging resolution. A closed-form solution is obtained under the assumption of linear photobleaching. Furthermore, simultaneous analysis of FRAP data collected at various disk sizes allows for the intrinsic determination of the instrumental resolution parameters, thereby obviating the need for an extrinsic calibration. A new method to estimate the variance of FRAP data is introduced to allow for proper weighting in this global analysis approach by nonlinear least squares. Experiments are performed on two independent CLSMs on homogeneous samples providing validation over a large range of diffusion coefficients.
Stimuli-responsive electrospun nanofibers are gaining considerable attention as highly versatile tools which offer great potential in the biomedical field. In this critical review, an overview is given on recent advances made in the development and application of stimuli-responsive fibers. The specific features of these electrospun fibers are highlighted and discussed in view of the properties required for the diverse applications. Furthermore, several novel biomedical applications are discussed and the respective advantages and shortcomings inherent to stimuli-responsive electrospun fibers are addressed (136 references).
Single-particle tracking (SPT) microscopy is increasingly used to characterize nanoparticulate systems. We introduce a concept for estimation of particle number concentration in Brownian particle dispersions using SPT based on a model for the trajectory length distribution of particles to estimate the detection region volume. The resulting method is independent of precalibration reference measurements, and robust with respect to image processing settings. Experimentally estimated concentrations of different dilutions of 0.19- and 0.52-?m polymer nanospheres are in excellent agreement with estimates computed from the concentrations of the stock solutions.
Extensive research is currently performed on designing safe and efficient non-viral carriers for gene delivery. To increase their efficiency, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of the mechanisms involved in cellular attachment, internalization and intracellular processing in target cells. In this work, we studied in vitro the cellular dynamics of polyplexes, composed of a newly developed bioreducible poly(amido amine) carrier, formed by polyaddition of N,N-cystamine bisacrylamide and 1-amino-4-butanol (p(CBA-ABOL)) on retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells, which are attractive targets for ocular gene therapy. We show that these net cationic p(CBA-ABOL)/DNA polyplexes require a charge-mediated attachment to the sulfate groups of cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans in order to be efficiently internalized. Secondly, we assessed the involvement of defined endocytic pathways in the internalization of the polyplexes in ARPE-19 cells by using a combination of endocytic inhibitors, RNAi depletion of endocytic proteins and live cell fluorescence colocalization microscopy. We found that the p(CBA-ABOL) polyplexes enter RPE cells both via flotillin-dependent endocytosis and a PAK1 dependent phagocytosis-like mechanism. The capacity of polyplexes to transfect cells was, however, primarily dependent on a flotillin-1-dependent endocytosis pathway.
The use of contrast material to stimulate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of migrating cells has become an important area of research. In the present study, cationic magnetoliposomes (MLs) were used to magnetically label human blood outgrowth endothelial cells (BOECs) and follow their homing by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The biodistribution and functional integration capacity of BOECs, which have shown extensive promise as gene delivery vehicles, have thus far only rarely been investigated. MLs were avidly internalized by BOECs giving clear MRI contrast in phantom studies and the magnetic labeling did not affect cell proliferation, viability, morphology or homeostasis and elicited only minor reactive oxygen species levels. Intravenous injection of labeled BOECs was compared with injection of free MLs and unlabeled BOECs, resulting in homing of BOECs toward the liver and spleen, which was confirmed by histology. The MLs used offer great potential for cellular tracking studies by MRI when low levels of widely distributed cells are present. In particular, the use of these MLs will allow to evaluate the efficacy of new methods to enhance BOEC homing and integration to optimize their use as efficient vehicles for gene therapy.
To evaluate the potential of fluorescence single particle tracking (fSPT) for the characterization of submicron protein aggregates in human serum, plasma and formulations containing human serum albumin (HSA).
Confocal or multi-photon laser scanning microscopes are convenient tools to perform FRAP diffusion measurements. Despite its popularity, accurate FRAP remains often challenging since current methods are either limited to relatively large bleach regions or can be complicated for non-specialists. In order to bring reliable quantitative FRAP measurements to the broad community of laser scanning microscopy users, here we have revised FRAP theory and present a new pixel based FRAP method relying on the photo bleaching of rectangular regions of any size and aspect ratio. The method allows for fast and straightforward quantitative diffusion measurements due to a closed-form expression for the recovery process utilizing all available spatial and temporal data. After a detailed validation, its versatility is demonstrated by diffusion studies in heterogeneous biopolymer mixtures.
Accurate sizing of nanoparticles in biological media is important for drug delivery and biomedical imaging applications since size directly influences the nanoparticle processing and nanotoxicity in vivo. Using fluorescence single particle tracking we have succeeded for the first time in following the aggregation of drug delivery nanoparticles in real time in undiluted whole blood. We demonstrate that, by using a suitable surface functionalization, nanoparticle aggregation in the blood circulation is prevented to a large extent.
Campylobacteriosis is the most frequently reported foodborne disease in the industrialized world, mainly through consumption of contaminated chicken meat. To date, no information is available on the primary infection sources of poultry. In this study, the ability of five Campylobacter jejuni strains with different invasion potential towards Caco-2 cells to survive and replicate in the protozoan Acanthamoeba castellanii was tested under simulated in situ conditions (i.e. chicken broiler houses). Results indicate that environmental conditions play a crucial role in C. jejuni-A. castellanii interactions. Co-culture in general did not result in an increase of either bacteria or amoebae. However, co-culture with Acanthamoeba did result in a delayed decline and an increased long-term survival of Campylobacter. Bacterial strain-specific effects were observed, with higher survival rates for low-invasive strains. The presence of C. jejuni in general did not affect A. castellanii viability, except at 37 °C under microaerobic conditions, where the presence of the reference and low-invasive Campylobacter strains resulted in a significant decline in amoebal viability. Confocal laser scanning microscopy revealed that intra-amoebal campylobacters were not always colocated with acidic organelles, suggesting potential bacterial interference with digestive processes. As Acanthamoeba enhances the persistence of C. jejuni, the presence of the amoeba in broiler house environments may have important implications for the ecology and epidemiology of this food pathogen.
Photopolymerized thermosensitive A-B-A triblock copolymer hydrogels composed of poly(N-(2-hydroxypropyl)methacrylamide lactate) A-blocks, partly derivatized with methacrylate groups to different extents (10, 20, and 30%) and hydrophilic poly(ethylene glycol) B-blocks of different molecular weights (4, 10, and 20 kDa) were synthesized. The aim of the present study was to correlate the polymer architecture with the hydrogel properties, particularly rheological, swelling, degradation properties and release behavior. It was found that an increasing methacrylation extent and a decreasing PEG molecular weight resulted in increasing gel strength and cross-link density, which tailored the degradation profiles from 25 to more than 300 days. Polymers having small PEG blocks showed a remarkable phase separation into polymer- and water-rich domains, as demonstrated by confocal microscopy. Depending on the hydrophobic domain density, the loaded protein resides in the hydrophilic pores or is partitioned into hydrophilic and hydrophobic domains, and its release from these compartments is tailored by the extent of methacrylation and by PEG length, respectively. As the mechanical properties, degradation, and release profiles can be fully controlled by polymer design and concentration, these hydrogels are suitable for controlled protein release.
A great deal of attention in biopharmacy and pharmaceutical technology is going to the development of nanoscopic particles to efficiently deliver nucleic acids to target cells. Despite the great potential of nucleic acids for treatment of various diseases, progress in the field is fairly slow. One of the causes is that development of suitable nanoscopic delivery vehicles is hampered by insufficient knowledge of their physicochemical and biophysical properties during the various phases of the transfection process. To address this issue, in the past decade we have developed and applied advanced fluorescence microscopy techniques that can provide a better insight in the transport and stability of nanoparticles in various biological media. This mini-review discusses the basic principles of fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP), fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and single particle tracking (SPT), and gives an overview of studies in which we have employed these techniques to characterize the transport and stability of nucleic acid containing nanoparticles in extracellular media and in living cells.
Although azole antifungals are considered to be fungistatic, miconazole has fungicidal activity against planktonic Candida albicans cells, presumably associated with the induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Only few data are available concerning the effect of miconazole against sessile C. albicans cells. In the present study, the fungicidal activity of miconazole against in vitro-grown mature Candida biofilms, and its relationship with the induction of ROS and ROS-dependent apoptosis were examined.
Nonviral gene complexes can enter mammalian cells through different endocytic pathways. For efficient optimization of the gene carrier it is important to profile its cellular uptake, because this largely determines its intracellular processing and subsequent transfection efficiency. Most of the current information on uptake of these gene-delivery vehicles is based on data following the use of chemical inhibitors of endocytic pathways. Here, we have performed a detailed characterization of four commonly used endocytosis inhibitors [chlorpromazine, genistein, methyl-beta-cyclodextrin (MbetaCD), and potassium depletion] on cell viability and endocytosis in five well-described cell lines. We found that chlorpromazine and to a lesser extent MbetaCD significantly decreased cell viability of some cell lines even after short incubation periods and at concentrations that are routinely used to inhibit endocytosis. Through analyzing the uptake and subcellular distribution of two fluorescent endocytic probes transferrin and lactosylceramide (LacCer) that are reported to enter cells via clathrin-dependent (CDE) and clathrin-independent (CIE) mechanisms, respectively, we showed poor specificity of these agents for inhibiting distinct endocytic pathways. Finally, we demonstrate that any inhibitory effects are highly cell line dependent. Overall, the data question the significance of performing endocytosis studies with these agents in the absence of very stringent controls.
Magnetoliposomes (MLs), built up of ultrasmall iron oxide cores each individually surrounded by a lipid bilayer, have emerged as highly biocompatible nanoparticles and promising tools in many biomedical applications. To improve cell uptake, cationic amphiphiles are inserted into the ML coat, but this often induces cytotoxic effects. In the present work, we synthesized and tested a cationic peptide-lipid conjugate (dipalmitoylphosphatidylethanolamine-succinyl-tetralysine [DPPE-succ-(Lys)4]) which is entirely composed of biodegradable moieties and specifically designed to exert minimal cytotoxic effects. Uptake studies with both murine 3T3 fibroblasts and C17.2 neural progenitor cells shows 95.63 +/- 5.83 pg Fe and 87.46 +/- 5.62 pg Fe per cell after 24 h, respectively, for 16.66% DPPE-succ-(Lys)4-containing MLs, with no effect on cell viability. However, these high intracellular nanoparticle concentrations transiently affect actin cytoskeleton architecture, formation of focal adhesion complexes and cell proliferation, returning to control levels after approximately 7 days post ML-incubation in both cell types. This study points out the great need for thorough characterization of cell-nanoparticle interactions as subtle time-dependent effects are hard to monitor and commonly used viability and functionality assays are not sufficient to address the broad spectrum of possible interferences of the nanoparticle with normal cell functioning.
Iron oxide nanocrystals that are dextran coated are widely exploited biomedically for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), hyperthermia cancer treatment and drug or gene delivery. In this study, the use of an alternative coating consisting of a phospholipid bilayer directly attached to the magnetite core is described. The flexible nature of the magnetoliposome (ML) coat, together with the simple production procedure, allows rapid and easy modification of the coating, offering many exciting possibilities for the use of these particles in biomedical applications. Upon incubation of neutral MLs with an equimolar amount of cationic 1,2-distearoyl-3-trimethylammoniumpropane (DSTAP)-bearing vesicles, approximately one third of the cationic lipids are incorporated into the ML coat. This is in line with a theoretical model predicting transferability of only the outer leaflet phospholipids of bilayer structures. Most interestingly, the use of MLs containing 3.33 % DSTAP with a positive zeta-potential of (31.3+/-7.3) mV (mean +/-SD) at neutral pH, results in very heavy labelling of a variety of biological cells (up to (70.39+/-4.52) pg of Fe per cell, depending on the cell type) without cytotoxic effects. The results suggest the general applicability of these bionanocolloids for cell labelling. Mechanistically, the nanoparticles are primarily taken up by clathrin-mediated endocytosis and follow the endosomal pathway. The fate of the ML coat after internalisation has been studied with different fluorescent lipid conjugates, which because of the unique features of the ML coat can be differentially incorporated in either the inner or the outer layer of the ML bilayer. It is shown that, ultimately, iron oxide cores surrounded by an intact lipid bilayer appear in endosomal structures. Once internalised, MLs are not actively exocytosed and remain within the cell. The lack of exocytosis and the very high initial loading of the cells by MLs result in a highly persistent label, which can be detected, even in highly proliferative 3T3 fibroblasts, for up to at least one month (equivalent to approximately 30 cell doublings), which by far exceeds any values reported in the literature.
Respiratory gene therapy has been considered for the treatment of a broad range of pulmonary disorders. However, respiratory secretions form an important barrier towards the pulmonary delivery of therapeutic nucleic acids. In this review we will start with a brief description of the biophysical properties of respiratory mucus and alveolar fluid. This must allow the reader to gain insights into the mechanisms by which respiratory secretions may impede the gene transfer efficiency of nucleic acid containing nanoparticles (NANs). Subsequently, we will summarize the efforts that have been done to understand the barrier properties of respiratory mucus and alveolar fluid towards the respiratory delivery of therapeutic nucleic acids. Finally, new and current strategies that can overcome the inhibitory effects of respiratory secretions are discussed.
Intravenous administration of siRNA nanocarriers may provide unique therapeutic opportunities for tissue-specific gene silencing. Although often engineered to overcome the numerous barriers that exist in the systemic circulation, many nanocarriers fail in extending the circulation time of the siRNA. A more detailed assessment of the different clearance mechanisms that are in play after intravenous injection could therefore be of value to improve siRNA nanocarrier design. In this report, the biodistribution in mice of siRNA loaded dextran nanogels was investigated in detail. Both single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging and fluorescence single particle tracking (fSPT) indicate that the particles are rapidly cleared from the circulation. PEGylation of the nanogels was not able to increase the half-life in the bloodstream. Carrier disassembly in the systemic circulation and phagocytic clearance are known to facilitate the elimination of siRNA nanoparticles. Additionally, it is demonstrated for dextran nanogels that also the kidneys play an important role in their elimination from the bloodstream. SPECT imaging revealed an accumulation of the siRNA loaded dextran nanogels in the kidneys shortly after intravenous injection and a significantly delayed transition of siRNA from kidney to bladder, as opposed to the injection of free siRNA. These data indicate that components of the glomerular filtration barrier may contribute to the dissociation of siRNA from its carrier, as was recently suggested for cationic cyclodextrin siRNA polyplexes. This clearance mechanism should therefore be taken into account when designing siRNA nanocarriers for intravenous administration.
Pseudorabies virus (PRV) initially replicates in the porcine upper respiratory tract. It easily invades the mucosae and submucosae for subsequent spread throughout the body via blood vessels and nervous system. In this context, PRV developed ingenious processes to overcome different barriers such as epithelial cells and the basement membrane. Another important but often overlooked barrier is the substantial mucus layer which coats the mucosae. However, little is known about how PRV particles interact with porcine respiratory mucus. We therefore measured the barrier properties of porcine tracheal respiratory mucus, and investigated the mobility of nanoparticles including PRV in this mucus. We developed an in vitro model utilizing single particle tracking microscopy. Firstly, the mucus pore size was evaluated with polyethylene glycol coupled (PEGylated) nanoparticles and atomic force microscope. Secondly, the mobility of PRV in porcine tracheal respiratory mucus was examined and compared with that of negative, positive and PEGylated nanoparticles. The pore size of porcine tracheal respiratory mucus ranged from 80 to 1500 nm, with an average diameter of 455±240 nm. PRV (zeta potential: -31.8±1.5 mV) experienced a severe obstruction in porcine tracheal respiratory mucus, diffusing 59-fold more slowly than in water. Similarly, the highly negatively (-49.8±0.6 mV) and positively (36.7±1.1 mV) charged nanoparticles were significantly trapped. In contrast, the nearly neutral, hydrophilic PEGylated nanoparticles (-9.6±0.8 mV) diffused rapidly, with the majority of particles moving 50-fold faster than PRV. The mobility of the particles measured was found to be related but not correlated to their surface charge. Furthermore, PEGylated PRV (-13.8±0.9 mV) was observed to diffuse 13-fold faster than native PRV. These findings clearly show that the mobility of PRV was significantly hindered in porcine tracheal respiratory mucus, and that the obstruction of PRV was due to complex mucoadhesive interactions including charge interactions rather than size exclusion.
To date, there is no consensus on the relationship between the physicochemical characteristics of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and their biological behavior; however, there is growing evidence that the versatile characteristics make their biological fate largely unpredictable and remain an issue of limited knowledge. Here we introduce an experimental methodology for tracking and visualization of postuptake behavior and the intracellular fate of CNTs based on the spatial distribution of diffusion values throughout the plant cell. By using raster scan image correlation spectroscopy (RICS), we were able to generate highly quantitative spatial maps of CNTs diffusion in different cell compartments. The spatial map of diffusion values revealed that the uptake of CNTs is associated with important subcellular events such as carrier-mediated vacuolar transport and autophagy. These results show that RICS is a useful methodology to elucidate the intracellular behavior mechanisms of carbon nanotubes and potentially other fluorescently labeled nanoparticles, which is of relevance for the important issues related to the environmental impact and health hazards.
Release me: polyelectrolyte capsules with different cargo in their cavities and plasmonic and magnetic nanoparticles in their walls were synthesized. Enzymatic reactions were triggered inside cells by light-mediated opening of two individual capsules containing either an enzyme or its substrate, by using photothermal heating. Furthermore, this technique allows controlled release of mRNA from capsules, thereby resulting in synthesis of green fluorescent protein (GFP).
The low transfection efficacy of non-viral gene delivery systems limits the therapeutic application of these vectors. Besides the inefficient release of the complexes or pDNA from endolysosomes into the cytoplasm or poor nuclear uptake, the nuclear and post-nuclear processing might unfavorably affect the transgene expression. Positively charged amphiphilic 1,4-dihydropyridine (1,4-DHP) derivatives were earlier proposed as a promising tool for the delivery of DNA into target cells in vitro and in vivo. However, the structure/activity relationship of these carriers is poorly understood as yet. In this work we studied the intracellular processing of complexes, composed of three structurally related 1,4-DHP derivatives, in a retinal pigment epithelial (ARPE-19) cell line. The pre- and post-nuclear processing of the complexes was quantified on the nuclear, mRNA and transgene expression level. Here we show that the interaction of 1,4-DHP complexes with the cell membrane temporarily increases the permeability of the ARPE-19 cell membrane for small molecular compounds. However, the main mechanism for internalization of 1,4-DHP complexes is endocytosis. We found that all examined derivatives are able to destabilize endosomal membranes by lipid exchange upon acidification. In addition, the buffering capacity of some of the compounds may contribute to the endosomal escape of the complexes as well through the proton sponge effect. Previously we reported that cellular uptake of 1,4-DHP complexes does not correlate with transgene expression. In this study we surprisingly revealed that there is no correlation between the amount of plasmids taken up by the cell and the amount of plasmids found in the cell nucleus. Furthermore, it was found that a high amount of plasmid in the nucleus does not ensure high mRNA expression, likely due to remaining interactions of the carrier with the plasmids. Neither did the expression of mRNA always result in the production of a functional protein, possibly due to the interaction of free carrier with intracellular components which are involved in the post-translational modification of protein and folding process. Overall, our data suggest that succeeding of both the pre- and the post-nuclear intracellular processes is equally essential for successful transgene expression.
The in vitro labeling of therapeutic cells with nanoparticles (NPs) is becoming more and more common, but concerns about the possible effects of the NPs on the cultured cells are also increasing. In the present work, we evaluate the effects of poly(methacrylic acid)-coated 4 nm diameter Au NPs on a variety of sensitive and therapeutically interesting cell types (C17.2 neural progenitor cells, human umbilical vein endothelial cells, and PC12 rat pheochromocytoma cells) using a multiparametric approach. Using various NP concentrations and incubation times, we performed a stepwise analysis of the NP effects on cell viability, reactive oxygen species, cell morphology, cytoskeleton architecture, and cell functionality. The data show that higher NP concentrations (200 nM) reduce cell viability mostly through induction of reactive oxygen species, which was significantly induced at concentrations of 50 nM Au NPs or higher. At these concentrations, both actin and tubulin cytoskeleton were deformed and resulted in reduced cell proliferation and cellular differentiation. In terms of cell functionality, the NPs significantly impeded neurite outgrowth of PC12 cells up to 20 nM concentrations. At 10 nM, no significant effects on any cellular parameter could be observed. These data highlight the importance of using multiple assays to cover the broad spectrum of cell-NP interactions and to determine safe NP concentrations and put forward the described protocol as a possible template for future cell-NP interaction studies under comparable and standardized conditions.
In the field of nanomedicine, ample attention has been paid to the development of nanocarriers for the intracellular delivery of therapeutic cargo, such as nucleic acids for gene therapy. The efficiency with which these non-viral carriers deliver their payload at the required intracellular site of action remains low. Despite extensive research on cellular attachment, endocytosis and intracellular trafficking of nanocarriers, clear-cut rules for the design of effective nanocarriers to improve nucleic acid transfer are still lacking. This is mainly caused by the cell type-dependence of this highly dynamic cellular processing, and to the lack of reliable methods to study these events. For these reasons there is a strong demand for the development and standardization of such methods in order to better understand the intracellular dynamics of nanomedicine processing and validate cellular and intracellular targeting strategies. This review aims at providing an overview of the different processes that are currently known to be involved in the cellular processing of nanomedicines, with a focus on cellular internalization mechanisms, as this has received a great deal of attention in the last couple of years. Furthermore, the intracellular hurdles that need to be overcome to allow efficient NA transfer will be critically discussed. In addition, an overview will be given of various methodologies that have been applied to unravel these cellular processing mechanisms, with a discussion on their strengths and weaknesses.
The use of iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) in biomedical research is steadily increasing, leading to the rapid development of novel IONP types and an increased exposure of cultured cells to a wide variety of IONPs. Due to the large variation in incubation conditions, IONP characteristics, and cell types studied, it is still unclear whether IONPs are generally safe or should be used with caution. During the past years, several contradictory observations have been reported, which highlight the great need for a more thorough understanding of cell-IONP interactions. To improve our knowledge in this field, there is a great need for standardized protocols and toxicity assays, that would allow to directly compare the cytotoxic potential of any IONP type with previously screened particles. Here, several approaches are described that allow to rapidly but thoroughly address several parameters which are of great impact for IONP-induced toxicity. These assays focus on acute cytotoxicity, induction of reactive oxygen species, measuring the amount of cell-associated iron, assessing cell morphology, cell proliferation, cell functionality, and possible pH-induced or intracellular IONP degradation. Together, these assays may form the basis for any detailed study on IONP cytotoxicity.
The interest in the biomedical use of highly fluorescent and photostable nanoparticles such as quantum dots (QDots) is vastly increasing. One major hurdle that impedes QDot use in live cells and animals is their potential toxicity. Here, we employ a recently described multiparametric setup to determine the concentration at which common polymer-coated QDots become non-cytotoxic. We found that toxic effects are strongly related to the intracellular QDot amount that can be controlled by their specific surface coating. Using lysosomal buffer systems and proliferation-restricted cells, intracellular QDots were found to localize in endosomes, where they generate reactive oxygen species, interfere with cell cytoskeleton and leach free Cd(2+) ions due to QDot dissolution, resulting in increased toxicity and impeded QDot fluorescence. Furthermore, we find that asymmetric partitioning of QDots upon recurrent cell division results in the sacrifice of heavily-loaded cells and a rapid loss of particles in live cells, limiting the use of currently available QDots for long-term imaging and defining the non-cytotoxic concentration as 10-fold lower than commonly used concentrations.
Cell labeling with various types of nanomaterial, such as FDA-approved iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) has become common practice in biomedical research. The low uptake of IONPs stimulates the use of transfection agents (TA), but the effect on stability of the IONPs and their cellular interactions has received minimal attention. In the present study, we evaluated the use of Lipofectamine as a commonly used TA and tested different ratios of TA and IONPs. While the TA-IONP complexes are stable in saline, at a high ratio of TA over IONP, substantial aggregation occurred in serum-containing media. Even for the highest ratio, TA was unable to completely cover the IONPs, resulting in a net negative charge of all complexes. At high TA-IONP ratios, more complexes remained surface-associated without internalization, resulting in cell death, while at lower TA-IONP ratios, complexes were more avidly taken up through fluid-phase pinocytosis and clathrin-mediated endocytosis. At later time points, the endocytosed complexes accumulated within the lysosomes and affected the appearance of lysosomal structures. The data indicate that TAs should be used with care as, depending on the ratio of TA and IONP, the complexes may aggregate, inducing cell death and preventing internalization.
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Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.