Systematization of knowledge on nanomaterials has become a necessity with the fast growth of applications of these species. Building up predictive models that describe properties (both beneficial and hazardous) of nanomaterials is vital for computational sciences. Classic quantitative structure- property/activity relationships (QSPR/QSAR) are not suitable for investigating nanomaterials because of the complexity of their molecular architecture. However, some characteristics such as size, concentration, and exposure time can influence endpoints (beneficial or hazardous) related to nanoparticles and they can therefore be involved in building a model. Application of the optimal descriptors calculated with the so-called correlation weights of various concentrations and different exposure times are suggested in order to build up a predictive model for cell membrane damage caused by a series of nano metal-oxides. The numerical data on correlation weights are calculated by the Monte Carlo method. The obtained results are in good agreement with the experimental data.
Cancer, the most devastating chronic disease affecting humankind, is treated primarily by surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Surgery and radiotherapy are mainly used for debulking the primary tumor, while chemotherapy is the most efficient anti-metastatic treatment. To control better metastatic cancer, the host immune system should be stimulated. Yet, successful specific stimulation of the immune system against tumors was seldom achieved even in antigenic tumors. Our working hypothesis is that aggressive in situ tumor ablation can release tumor antigens and danger signals, which will enhance anti-tumor T cell responses resulting in the destruction of residual malignant cells in primary tumors and distant metastases. We developed two efficient in situ ablation treatments for solid cancer, which can be used to destroy the primary tumors and stimulate anti-tumor immune responses. The first treatment, electrochemical ablation, is applied through intratumoral electrodes, which deliver unipolar-pulsed electric currents. The second treatment, diffusing alpha-emitters radiation therapy (DaRT), is based on intratumoral (224)Ra-loaded wire(s) that release by recoil its daughter atoms. These short-lived alpha-emitting atoms spread in the tumor and spray it with lethal alpha particles. It was confirmed that these treatments effectively destroy various malignant animal and human primary solid tumors. As a consequence of such tumor ablation, tumor-derived antigenic material was released and provoked systemic T cell-dependent anti-tumor immunological reactions. These reactions conferred protection against a secondary tumor challenge and destroyed remaining malignant cells in the primary tumor as well as in distant metastases. Such anti-tumor immune responses could be further amplified by the immune adjuvant, CpG. Electrochemical ablation or DaRT together with chemotherapy and immunostimulatory agents can serve as treatment protocols for solid metastatic tumors and can be applied instead of or in combination with surgery.
One of the key challenges in the field of nanoparticle (NP) analysis is in producing reliable and reproducible characterisation data for nanomaterials. This study looks at the reproducibility using a relatively new, but rapidly adopted, technique, Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) on a range of particle sizes and materials in several different media. It describes the protocol development and presents both the data and analysis of results obtained from 12 laboratories, mostly based in Europe, who are primarily QualityNano members. QualityNano is an EU FP7 funded Research Infrastructure that integrates 28 European analytical and experimental facilities in nanotechnology, medicine and natural sciences with the goal of developing and implementing best practice and quality in all aspects of nanosafety assessment. This study looks at both the development of the protocol and how this leads to highly reproducible results amongst participants. In this study, the parameter being measured is the modal particle size.
Recently it has been shown that decreasing the extracellular pH of cells stimulates the formation of inward membrane invaginations and vesicles, accompanied by an enhanced uptake of macromolecules. This type of endocytosis was coined as proton-induced uptake (PIU). Though the initial induction of inward membrane curvature was rationalized in terms of proton-based increase of charge asymmetry across the membrane, the dependence of the phenomenon on plasma membrane characteristics is still unknown. The present study shows that depolarization of the membrane resting potential elevates PIU by 25%, while hyperpolarization attenuates it by 25%. Comparison of uptake in suspended and adherent cells implicates that the resting-potential affects PIU through remodeling the actin-cytoskeleton. The pH at the external interface of the cell membrane rather than the pH gradient across it determines the extent of PIU. PIU increases linearly upon temperature increase in the range of 4-36°C, in correlation with the membrane fluidity. The plasma membrane fluidity and the lipid phase order are modulated by enriching the cells membrane with cholesterol, tergitol, dimethylsulfoxide, 6-ketocholestanol and phloretin and by cholesterol depletion. These treatments are shown to alter the extent of PIU and are better correlated with membrane fluidity than with the lipid phase order. We suggest that the lipid phase order and fluidity influence PIU by regulating the lipid order gradient across the perimeter of the lipid-condensed microdomains (rafts) and alter the characteristic tension line that separates the higher ordered lipid-domains from the lesser ordered ones.
Cobalt-ferrite nanoparticles (Co-Fe NPs) are attractive for nanotechnology-based therapies. Thus, exploring their effect on viability of seven different cell lines representing different organs of the human body is highly important.
Physiological electric fields are involved in many biological processes and known to elicit their effects during long exposures ranging from a few hours to days. Following exposure to electric fields of physiological amplitude, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was demonstrated to be redistributed and upregulated with further intracellular signaling such as the MAPK signaling cascade. In our study we demonstrated EGFR activation and signaling induced by short train of pulsed low electric field (LEF) (10V/cm, pulse-width 180?s, 500Hz, 2min) in serum-free medium, following 24-hour starvation, and in the absence of exogenous EGF ligand, suggesting a ligand-independent pathway for EGFR activation. This ligandless activation was further confirmed by using neutralizing antibodies (LA1) that block the EGFR ligand-binding site. EGFR activation was found to be EGFR kinase dependent, yet with no dimerization following exposure to LEF. ERK activation was found to be mainly a result of EGFR downstream signaling though it partially occurred via EGFR-independent way. We demonstrate that reactive oxygen species and especially decrease in pH generated during exposure to LEF are involved in EGFR ligandless activation. We propose a possible mechanism for the LEF-induced EGFR ligand-independent activation and show activation of other receptor tyrosine kinases following exposure to LEF.
Recently it has been shown that elevating proton concentration at the cell surface stimulates the formation of membrane invaginations and vesicles accompanied by an enhanced uptake of macromolecules. While the initial induction of inward membrane curvature was rationalized in terms of proton-based increase of charge asymmetry across the membrane, the mechanisms underlying vesicle formation and its scission are still unknown. In light of the critical role of actin in vesicle formation during endocytosis, the present study addresses the involvement of cytoskeletal actin in proton-induced uptake (PIU). The uptake of dextran-FITC is used as a measure for the factual fraction of inward invaginations that undergo scission from the cells plasma membrane. Our findings show that the rate of PIU in suspended cells is constant, whereas the rate of PIU in adherent cells is gradually increased in time, saturating at the level possessed by suspended cells. This is consistent with pH induced gradual degradation of stress-fibers in adherent cells. Wortmannin and calyculin-A are able to elevate PIU by 25% in adherent cells but not in suspended cells, while cytochalasin-D, rapamycin and latrunculin-A elevate PIU both in adherent and suspended cells. However, extensive actin depolymerization by high concentrations of latrunculin-A is able to inhibit PIU. We conclude that proton-induced membrane vesiculation is restricted by the actin structural resistance to the plasma membrane bending. Nevertheless, a certain degree of cortical actin restructuring is required for the completion of the scission process.
An effective intracellular protein delivery system was developed based on linear poly(amidoamine)s (PAAs) that form self-assembled cationic nanocomplexes with oppositely charged proteins. Two differently functionalized PAAs were synthesized by Michael-type polyaddition of 4-amino-1-butanol (ABOL) to cystamine bisacrylamide (CBA) and to bisacryloylpiperazine (BAP), yielding p(CBA-ABOL) and p(BAP-ABOL), respectively. These water-soluble PAAs efficiently condense human serum albumin (HSA) by self-assembly into stable nanoscaled and positively-charged complexes. The disulfide-containing p(CBA-ABOL)/HSA nanocomplexes exhibited high mucoadhesive properties and, while stable under neutral (extracellular) conditions, rapidly destabilized in a reductive (intracellular) environment due to the cleavage of the repetitive disulfide linkages in the CBA units of the polymer. Human-derived intestinal Caco-2/TC7 cells and HT29-MTX mucus secreting cells were exposed to these PAAs/HSA nanoparticles and the extent of their uptake and the localization within endosomal compartments were examined. The higher uptake of p(CBA-ABOL)/HSA than that of p(BAP-ABOL)/HSA suggests that the mucoadhesive properties of the p(CBA-ABOL) are beneficial to the uptake process. The transported HSA was located within early endosomes, lysosomes and the cytosol. The enhanced uptake of the p(CBA-ABOL)/HSA nanoparticles, observed in the presence of Cyclosporin A, a non-specific Multi Drug Resistance (MDR) blocker, indicates the possible efflux of these nanoparticles through MDR transporters. The results show that bioreducible PAAs have excellent properties for intracellular protein delivery, and should be applicative in oral protein delivery.
The present study suggests a sensitive and rapid cell analysis method to evaluate the oxidative stress produced in a physiological culture medium, by anodic electrochemical products. The detection of these oxidizing agents, probably involving hypochlorite, is carried out by measuring the presence of an oxidized tryptophan intermediate, entrapped and stabilized in the cell cytoplasm. The formation of this tryptophan intermediate depends solely on the presence of a free tryptophan in the extracellular medium near the anode. This intermediate possesses a characteristic emission maximum at ?~560 nm, which can be abolished by the presence of anti-oxidants in the media during the cells exposure to electric current. However, this intermediates emission is unaffected by increased concentrations of intracellular anti-oxidants. This suggests that the anodic produced unstable tryptophan intermediate permeates the cell plasma membrane and becomes stabilized by cytoplasmic proteins. Tryptophan oxidative intermediates with similar spectra could also be formed by the chemical reaction of hypochlorite with tryptophan in solution. The analysis of the intracellularly stabilized tryptophan intermediate by flow cytometry can be used for measuring external oxidation stress without the disturbance of intracellular anti-oxidative capacity.
The toxicological effects of cobalt nanoparticles (Co-NPs) aggregates were examined and compared with those of cobalt ions (Co-ions) using six different cell lines representing lung, liver, kidney, intestine, and the immune system. Dose-response curves were studied in the concentration range of 0.05-1.0 mM, employing 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-Yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide test, neutral red, and Alamar blue as end point assays following exposures for 48 and 72 h. Data analysis and predictive modeling of the obtained data sets were executed by employing a decision tree model (J48), where training and validation were carried out by an iterative process. It was established, as expected, that concentration is the highest rank parameter. This is because concentration parameter provides the highest information gain with respect to toxicity. The second-rank parameter emerged to be either the compound type (Co-ions or Co-NPs) or the cell model, depending on the concentration range. The third and the lowest rank in the model was exposure duration. The hierarchy of cell sensitivity toward cobalt ions was found to obey the following sequence of cell lines: A549 > MDCK > NCIH441 > Caco-2 > HepG2 > dendritic cells (DCs), with A549 being the most sensitive cell line and primary DCs were the least sensitive ones. However, a different hierarchy pattern emerged for Co-NPs: A549 = MDCK = NCIH441 = Caco-2 > DCs > HepG2. The overall findings are in line with the hypothesis that the toxic effects of aggregated cobalt NPs are mainly due to cobalt ion dissolution from the aggregated NPs.
In this study, the human RBC capillary flow has been modeled by passing 11 microl of RBC suspension (Hematocrit = 6%) in phosphate buffer solution (PBS) of a viscosity of 1 and 2.6 cP (in the presence of 2% Dextran) through 5 microm pore diameter polycarbonate Nuclepore filters. We have developed a digitally controlled experimental system for measuring the RBC filterability at a constant driving pressure, in the range of 10-400 Pa, producing a wall shear stress range of 1-50 Pa. The RBC filterability was evaluated by measuring the cell suspension flow rate normalized by the PBS flow rate. The RBC filterability has been found to be a nonlinear function of the driving pressure, having a single minimum locus at 25 Pa. Lowering the driving pressure below 25 Pa revealed an unexpected increase of the RBC filterability.The maximal RBC filterability (near unity) was detected at the lowest driving pressure (10 Pa) and the corresponding estimated RBC linear velocity while traveling through the capillary pore was as high as 800 microm/s. Increasing the driving pressure above 25 Pa confirmed previous results, where RBC filterability is monotonically and asymptotically increasing. Increasing the PBS medium viscosity from 1 to 2.26 cP significantly attenuated the RBC filterability and led to the anomalous increase of RBC deformability at the 10 Pa pressure range. We propose that the anomalous increase in RBC deformability was caused by RBCs undergoing spontaneous mechanical fluctuations.
Nanomaterials and their associated technologies hold promising opportunities for the development of new materials and applications in a wide variety of disciplines, including medicine, environmental remediation, waste treatment, and energy conservation. However, current information regarding the environmental effects and health risks associated with nanomaterials is limited and sometimes contradictory. This article summarizes the conclusions of a 2008 NATO workshop designed to evaluate the wide-scale implications (e.g., benefits, risks, and costs) of the use of nanomaterials on human health and the environment. A unique feature of this workshop was its interdisciplinary nature and focus on the practical needs of policy decision makers. Workshop presentations and discussion panels were structured along four main themes: technology and benefits, human health risk, environmental risk, and policy implications. Four corresponding working groups (WGs) were formed to develop detailed summaries of the state-of-the-science in their respective areas and to discuss emerging gaps and research needs. The WGs identified gaps between the rapid advances in the types and applications of nanomaterials and the slower pace of human health and environmental risk science, along with strategies to reduce the uncertainties associated with calculating these risks.
Transfer of exogenous material into the cytosol of cells is one of the main challenges in drug delivery. We present a novel physical approach for efficient incorporation of macromolecules into living cells, based on exposing them to a train of unipolar electric field pulses, possessing much lower amplitude than used for electroporation. The exposure of cells to a low electric field (LEF) alters the cell surface, leading to enhanced adsorption of macromolecules and their subsequent uptake by stimulated endocytosis. The macromolecules are initially encapsulated in membrane vesicles and then, at a later stage, are released into the cytosol and interact with intracellular targets. The uptake of fluorescently labeled macromolecules is monitored using confocal microscopy and flow cytometry. The biological activities of the incorporated macromolecules are determined by biochemical methods.
Red blood cell (RBC) membrane fluctuations provide important insights into cell states. We present a spatial analysis of red blood cell membrane fluctuations by using digital holographic microscopy (DHM). This interferometric and dye-free technique, possessing nanometric axial and microsecond temporal sensitivities enables to measure cell membrane fluctuations (CMF) on the whole cell surface. DHM acquisition is combined with a model which allows extracting the membrane fluctuation amplitude, while taking into account cell membrane topology. Uneven distribution of CMF amplitudes over the RBC surface is observed, showing maximal values in a ring corresponding to the highest points on the RBC torus as well as in some scattered areas in the inner region of the RBC. CMF amplitudes of 35.9+/-8.9 nm and 4.7+/-0.5 nm (averaged over the cell surface) were determined for normal and ethanol-fixed RBCs, respectively.
We propose a low-coherence spectral-domain phase microscopy (SDPM) system for accurate quantitative phase measurements in red blood cells (RBCs) for the prognosis and monitoring of disease conditions that affect the visco-elastic properties of RBCs. Using the system, we performed time-recordings of cell membrane fluctuations, and compared the nano-scale fluctuation dynamics of healthy and glutaraldehyde-treated RBCs. Glutaraldehyde-treated RBCs possess lower amplitudes of fluctuations, reflecting an increased membrane stiffness. To demonstrate the ability of our system to measure fluctuations of lower amplitudes than those measured by the commonly used holographic phase microscopy techniques, we also constructed wide-field digital interferometry (WFDI) system and compared the performances of both systems. Due to its common-path geometry, the optical-path-delay stability of SDPM was found to be less than 0.3 nm in liquid environment, at least three times better than WFDI under the same conditions. In addition, due to the compactness of SDPM and its inexpensive and robust design, the system possesses a high potential for clinical applications.
Electroendocytosis involves the exposure of cells to pulsed low electric field and is emerging as a complementary method to electroporation for the incorporation of macromolecules into cells. The present study explores the underlying mechanism of electroendocytosis and its dependence on electrochemical byproducts formed at the electrode interface. Cell suspensions were exposed to pulsed low electric field in a partitioned device where cells are spatially restricted relative to the electrodes. The cellular uptake of dextran-FITC was analyzed by flow cytometery and visualized by confocal microscopy. We first show that uptake occurs only in cells adjacent to the anode. The enhanced uptake near the anode is found to depend on electric current density rather than on electric field strength, in the range of 5 to 65 V/cm. Electrochemically produced oxidative species that impose intracellular oxidative stress, do not play any role in the stimulated uptake. An inverse dependence is found between electrically induced uptake and the solutions buffer capacity. Electroendocytosis can be mimicked by chemically acidifying the extracellular solution which promotes the enhanced uptake of dextran polymers and the uptake of plasmid DNA. Electrochemical production of protons at the anode interface is responsible for inducing uptake of macromolecules into cells exposed to a pulsed low electric field. Expanding the understanding of the mechanism involved in electric fields induced drug-delivery into cells, is expected to contribute to clinical therapy applications in the future.
A3 adenosine receptor, A3AR, belongs to the Gi proteins coupled receptors. Activation of A3AR by its agonist, IB-MECA, decreases cAMP and was expected to reduce melanin level. Unexpectedly, B16 melanoma cells exposed to IB-MECA increased melanin levels in a dose-dependent manner. Human skin explants exposed to IB-MECA showed an increase in DOPA positive cells and in melanin deposition in keratinocytes. The agonist induced AKT phosphorylation, leading to a rapid translocation of the transcription factor MiTF towards the nucleus. DOPA oxidase activity and melanin levels induced by IB-MECA were further enhanced by PD98509, an inhibitor ERK signalling pathway. Our study shows that IB-MECA decreases cAMP while inducing melanogenesis. The proposed mechanism involves activation of PI3K/AKT signalling pathway by ?/? subunits of the G protein coupled to A3AR. The increase in melanin level in human skin explants suggests that IB-MECA may be a potential candidate to the treatment of hypopigmentation of skin.
The different pathways of endocytosis share an initial step involving local inward curvature of the cells lipid bilayer. It has been shown that to generate membrane curvature, proteins or lipids enforce transversal asymmetry of the plasma membrane. Thus it emerges as a general phenomenon that transversal membrane asymmetry is the common required element for the formation of membrane curvature. The present study demonstrates that elevating proton concentration at the cell surface stimulates the formation of membrane invaginations and vesiculation accompanied by efficient uptake of macromolecules (Dextran-FITC, 70 kD), relative to the constitutive one. The insensitivity of proton induced uptake to inhibiting treatments and agents of the known endocytic pathways suggests the entry of macromolecules to proceeds via a yet undefined route. This is in line with the fact that neither ATP depletion, nor the lowering of temperature, abolishes the uptake process. In addition, fusion mechanism such as associated with low pH uptake of toxins and viral proteins can be disregarded by employing the polysaccharide dextran as the uptake molecule. The proton induced uptake increases linearly in the extracellular pH range of 6.5 to 4.5, and possesses a steep increase at the range of 4> pH>3, reaching a plateau at pH ? 3. The kinetics of the uptake implies that the induced vesicles release their content to the cytosol and undergo rapid recycling to the plasma membrane. We suggest that protonation of the cells surface induces local charge asymmetries across the cell membrane bilayer, inducing inward curvature of the cell membrane and consequent vesiculation and uptake.
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