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The Effect of Gold Nanoparticles on Dendritic Cells

H. Vallhov, J. Qin, S. Johansson, M. Muhammed, S. Gabrielsson and A. Scheynius
Karolinska Institutet, SE

Keywords:
gold nanoparticles, dendritic cells

Abstract:
Recent biological applications have been focusing on using gold nanoparticles for e.g. drug and gene delivery. There is however little information available concerning what influence such particles have on the immune system, e.g. on dendritic cells (DCs).
DCs are the main form of professional antigen-presenting cells having a unique ability to induce both primary and secondary immune responses by expressing cytkines, MHC and co-stimulatory molecules such as CD80, CD83 and CD86.
We addressed the question whether gold nanoparticles of 6 nm affect DCs, looking at morphology, viability, expression of cytokines and of co-stimulatory and antigen presenting molecules. This was assessed by using human DCs together with gold nanoparticles, and various techniques including microscopy, flow cytometry and ELISpot.
Experiments revealed that both morphology and viability are almost not affected by the gold nanoparticles. The expression of CD40, CD80, CD83, CD86 and MHC class I and II was not or only to a minor degree upregulated, which also confirms the biocompatibility of gold. This is further supported by low or no expression of the cytokines IL-10, IL-12 and INF-alpha. In conclusion, gold nanoparticles of 6 nm in diameter have the potential to be used as inert carriers in biomedical applications.

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