Nanomaterials (Basel, Switzerland)

In Vitro Dermal Safety Assessment of Silver Nanowires after Acute Exposure: Tissue vs. Cell Models.

PMID 29641466


Silver nanowires (AgNW) are attractive materials that are anticipated to be incorporated into numerous consumer products such as textiles, touchscreen display, and medical devices that could be in direct contact with skin. There are very few studies on the cellular toxicity of AgNW and no studies that have specifically evaluated the potential toxicity from dermal exposure. To address this question, we investigated the dermal toxicity after acute exposure of polymer-coated AgNW with two sizes using two models, human primary keratinocytes and human reconstructed epidermis. In keratinocytes, AgNW are rapidly and massively internalized inside cells leading to dose-dependent cytotoxicity that was not due to Ag⁺ release. Analysing our data with different dose metrics, we propose that the number of NW is the most appropriate dose-metric for studies of AgNW toxicity. In reconstructed epidermis, the results of a standard in vitro skin irritation assay classified AgNW as non-irritant to skin and we found no evidence of penetration into the deeper layer of the epidermis. The findings show that healthy and intact epidermis provides an effective barrier for AgNW, although the study does not address potential transport through follicles or injured skin. The combined cell and tissue model approach used here is likely to provide an important methodology for assessing the risks for skin exposure to AgNW from consumer products.