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Gold nanoparticles do not induce myotube cytotoxicity but increase the susceptibility to cell death.

Toxicology in vitro : an international journal published in association with BIBRA (2015-03-21)
Paulo Emílio Corrêa Leite, Mariana Rodrigues Pereira, Carlos Antonio do Nascimento Santos, Andrea Porto Carreiro Campos, Ticiana Mota Esteves, José Mauro Granjeiro

Gold nanoparticles (AuNP) have been widely used for many applications, including as biological carriers. A better understanding concerning AuNP safety on muscle cells is crucial, since it could be a potential tool in the nanomedicine field. Here, we describe the impact of polyethylene glycol-coated gold nanoparticles (PEG-AuNP) interaction with differentiated skeletal muscle C2C12 cells on cell viability, mitochondria function, cell signaling related to survival, cytokine levels and susceptibility to apoptosis. Intracellular localization of 4.5 nm PEG-AuNP diameter size was evidenced by STEM-in-SEM in myotube cells. Methods for cytotoxicity analysis showed that PEG-AuNP did not affect cell viability, but intracellular ATP levels and mitochondrial membrane potential increased. Phosphorylation of ERK was not altered but p-AKT levels reduced (p<0.01). Pre-treatment of cells with PEG-AuNP followed by staurosporine induction increased the caspases-3/7 activity. Indeed, cytokines analysis revealed a sharp increase of IFN-γ and TGF-β1 levels after PEG-AuNP treatment, suggesting that inflammatory and fibrotic phenotypes process were activated. These data demonstrate that PEG-AuNP affect the myotube physiology leading these cells to be more susceptible to death stimuli in the presence of staurosporine. Altogether, these results present evidence that PEG-AuNP affect the susceptibility to apoptosis of muscle cells, contributing to development of safer strategies for intramuscular delivery.

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Protease Inhibitor Cocktail, Animal Component Free, for use with mammalian cell and tissue extract, DMSO solution