Toxicology in vitro : an international journal published in association with BIBRA

Silver nanoparticle-induced cytotoxicity in rat brain endothelial cell culture.

PMID 22954533


Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are among the most widely commercialised engineered nanomaterials, because of their antimicrobial properties. They are already commonly used in medical devices, household products and industry. Concerns have been raised about potential adverse health effects due to increasing dispersion of AgNPs in the environment. The present study examined the cytotoxic effects of spherical, citrate-coated AgNPs (10, 50 and 100 nm) in rat brain endothelial (RBE4) cells and investigated whether the observed effects can be explained by the intrinsic toxicity of the particles or the silver ions released from the particles. The results indicated that exposure of RBE4 cells to AgNPs lead to significant reduction in dye uptake as measured with the Neutral red (NR) assay. The effect was found to be related to particle size, surface area, dose and exposure time. In contrast, silver ions increased NR uptake (ca. 10%) in RBE4 cells after 1h, while a reduction in NR uptake was observed after 24h exposure at high concentrations (20-30 μM). Colony formation, as an indicator of proliferation ability, was completely inhibited by AgNPs at concentrations higher than 1 μg/ml. Silver ions had less effect on the colony formation of RBE4 cells than AgNPs.