154 results found
Pinna A, Baghbaderani MT, Hernández VV, et al., 2020, Nanoceria provides antioxidant and osteogenic properties to mesoporous silica nanoparticles for osteoporosis treatment., Acta Biomater
Osteoporosis, a chronic metabolic bone disease, is the most common cause of fractures. Drugs for treating osteoporosis generally inhibit osteoclast (OC) activity, but are rarely aimed at encouraging new bone growth and often cause severe systemic side effects. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are one of the key triggers of osteoporosis, by inducing osteoblasts (OBs) and osteocyte apoptosis and promoting osteoclastogenesis. Here we tested the capability of the ROS-scavenger nanoceria encapsulated within mesoporous silica nanoparticles (Ce@MSNs) to treat osteoporosis using a pre-osteoblast MC3T3-E1 cell monoculture in stressed and normal conditions. Ce@MSNs (diameter of 80 ± 10 nm) were synthesised following a scalable two-step process involving sol-gel and wet impregnation methods. The Ce@MSNs at concentration of 100 μg mL-1 induced a significant reduction in oxidative stress produced by t-butyl hydroperoxide and did not alter cell viability significantly. Confocal microscopy showed that MSNs and Ce@MSN were internalised into the cytoplasm of the pre-osteoblasts after 24 h but not in the nucleus, avoiding any DNA and RNA modifications. Ce@MSNs provoked mineralisation of the pre-osteoablasts without osteogenic supplements, which did not occur when the cells were exposed to MSN without nanoceria. In a co-culture system of MC3T3-E1 and RAW264.7 macrophages, the Ce@MSNs exhibited antioxidant capability and stimulated cell proliferation and osteogenic responses without adding osteogenic supplements to the culture. The work brings forward an effective platform based for facile synthesis of Ce@MSNs to interact with both OBs and OCs for treatment of osteoporosis.
Bone's hierarchical arrangement of collagen and mineral generates a confluence of toughening mechanisms acting at every length scale from the molecular to the macroscopic level. Molecular defects, disease, and age alter bone structure at different levels and diminish its fracture resistance. However, the inability to isolate and quantify the influence of specific features hampers our understanding and the development of new therapies. Here, we combine in situ micromechanical testing, transmission electron microscopy and phase-field modelling to quantify intrinsic deformation and toughening at the fibrillar level and unveil the critical role of fibril orientation on crack deflection. At this level dry bone is highly anisotropic, with fracture energies ranging between 5 and 30 J/m2 depending on the direction of crack propagation. These values are lower than previously calculated for dehydrated samples from large-scale tests. However, they still suggest a significant amount of energy dissipation. This approach provides a new tool to uncouple and quantify, from the bottom up, the roles played by the structural features and constituents of bone on fracture and how can they be affected by different pathologies. The methodology can be extended to support the rational development of new structural composites.
Han Z, Porter AE, 2020, In situ electron microscopy of complex biological and nanoscale systems: challenges and opportunities, Frontiers in Nanotechnology, Vol: 2, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 2673-3013
In situ imaging for direct visualization is important for physical and biological sciences. Research endeavors into elucidating dynamic biological and nanoscale phenomena frequently necessitate in situ and time-resolved imaging. In situ liquid cell electron microscopy (LC-EM) can overcome certain limitations of conventional electron microscopies and offer great promise. This review aims to examine the status-quo and practical challenges of in situ LC-EM and its applications, and to offer insights into a novel correlative technique termed microfluidic liquid cell electron microscopy. We conclude by suggesting a few research ideas adopting microfluidic LC-EM for in situ imaging of biological and nanoscale systems.
Michaeloudes C, Seiffert J, Chen S, et al., 2020, Effect of silver nanospheres and nanowires on human airway smooth muscle cells: role of sulfidation, NANOSCALE ADVANCES, Vol: 2, Pages: 5635-5647, ISSN: 2516-0230
Alzahabi KH, Usmani O, Georgiou TK, et al., 2020, Approaches to treating tuberculosis by encapsulating metal ions and anti-mycobacterial drugs utilizing nano- and microparticle technologies, EMERGING TOPICS IN LIFE SCIENCES, Vol: 4, Pages: 581-600, ISSN: 2397-8554
Ruggero F, Porter AE, Voulvoulis N, et al., 2020, A highly efficient multi-step methodology for the quantification of micro-(bio)plastics in sludge., Waste Management and Research, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 0734-242X
The present study develops a multi-step methodology for identification and quantification of microplastics and micro-bioplastics (together called in the current work micro-(bio)plastics) in sludge. In previous studies, different methods for the extraction of microplastics were devised for traditional plastics, while the current research tested the methodology on starch-based micro-bioplastics of 0.1-2 mm size. Compostable bioplastics are expected to enter the anaerobic or aerobic biological treatments that lead to end-products applicable in agriculture; some critical conditions of treatments (e.g. low temperature and moisture) can slow down the degradation process and be responsible for the presence of microplastics in the end-product. The methodology consists of an initial oxidation step, with hydrogen peroxide 35% concentrated to clear the sludge and remove the organic fraction, followed by a combination of flotation with sodium chloride and observation of the residues under a fluorescence microscope using a green filter. The workflow revealed an efficacy of removal from 94% to 100% and from 92% to 96% for plastic fragments, 0.5-2 mm and 0.1-0.5 mm size, respectively. The methodology was then applied to samples of food waste pulp harvested after a shredding pre-treatment in an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Italy, where polyethylene, starch-based Mater-Bi® and cellophane microplastics were recovered in amounts of 9 ± 1.3/10 g <2 mm and 4.8 ± 1.2/10 g ⩾2 mm. The study highlights the need to lower the threshold size for the quantification of plastics in organic fertilizers, which is currently set by legislations at 2 mm, by improving the background knowledge about the fate of the micro-(bio)plastics in biological treatments for the organic waste.
Kumar P, Kalaiarasan G, Porter AE, et al., 2020, An overview of methods of fine and ultrafine particle collection for physicochemical characterisation and toxicity assessments., Science of the Total Environment, ISSN: 0048-9697
Particulate matter (PM) is a crucial health risk factor for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. The smaller size fractions, ≤2.5 μm (PM2.5; fine particles) and ≤0.1 μm (PM0.1; ultrafine particles), show the highest bioactivity but acquiring sufficient mass for in vitro and in vivo toxicological studies is challenging. We review the suitability of available instrumentation to collect the PM mass required for these assessments. Five different microenvironments representing the diverse exposure conditions in urban environments are considered in order to establish the typical PM concentrations present. The highest concentrations of PM2.5 and PM0.1 were found near traffic (i.e. roadsides and traffic intersections), followed by indoor environments, parks and behind roadside vegetation. We identify key factors to consider when selecting sampling instrumentation. These include PM concentration on-site (low concentrations increase sampling time), nature of sampling sites (e.g. indoors; noise and space will be an issue), equipment handling and power supply. Physicochemical characterisation requires micro- to milli-gram quantities of PM and it may increase according to the processing methods (e.g. digestion or sonication). Toxicological assessments of PM involve numerous mechanisms (e.g. inflammatory processes and oxidative stress) requiring significant amounts of PM to obtain accurate results. Optimising air sampling techniques are therefore important for the appropriate collection medium/filter which have innate physical properties and the potential to interact with samples. An evaluation of methods and instrumentation used for airborne virus collection concludes that samplers operating cyclone sampling techniques (using centrifugal forces) are effective in collecting airborne viruses. We highlight that predictive modelling can help to identify pollution hotspots in an urban environment for the efficient collection of PM mass. This review provides
Valente P, Kiryushko D, Sacchetti S, et al., 2020, Conopeptide-Functionalized Nanoparticles Selectively Antagonize Extrasynaptic N-Methyl-D-aspartate Receptors and Protect Hippocampal Neurons from Excitotoxicity In Vitro, ACS NANO, Vol: 14, Pages: 6866-6877, ISSN: 1936-0851
Chen S, Greasley SL, Ong ZY, et al., 2020, Biodegradable zinc-containing mesoporous silica nanoparticles for cancer therapy, Materials Today, Vol: 6, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 1369-7021
Triple-negative breast cancers are extremely aggressive with limited treatment options because of the reduced response of the cancerous cells to hormonal therapy. Here, monodispersed zinc-containing mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNPs-Zn) were produced as a tuneable biodegradable platform for delivery of therapeutic zinc ions into cells. We demonstrate that the nanoparticles were internalized by cells, and a therapeutic dose window was identified in which the MSNPs-Zn were toxic to breast cancer cells but not to healthy epithelial (MCF-10a) cells or to murine macrophages. A significant reduction in the viability of triple negative MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 (ER+) breast cancer cells was seen following 24 h exposure to MSNPs-Zn. The more aggressive MDA-MB-231 cells, with higher metastatic potential, were more sensitive to MSNPs-Zn than the MCF-7 cells. MSNPs-Zn underwent biodegradation inside the cells, becoming hollow structures, as imaged by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. The mesoporous silica nanoparticles provide a biodegradable vehicle for therapeutic ion release inside cells.
McGilvery CM, Abellan P, Klosowski MM, et al., 2020, Nanoscale chemical heterogeneity in aromatic polyamide membranes for reverse osmosis applications, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, Vol: 12, Pages: 19890-19902, ISSN: 1944-8244
Reverse osmosis membranes are used within the oil and gas industry for seawater desalination on off-shore oilrigs. The membranes consist of three layers of material: a polyester backing layer, a polysulfone support and a polyamide (PA) thin film separating layer. It is generally thought that the PA layer controls ion selectivity within the membrane but little is understood about its structure or chemistry at the molecular scale. This active polyamide layer is synthesized by interfacial polymerization at an organic/aqueous interface between m-phenylenediamine and trimesoyl chloride, producing a highly cross-linked PA polymer. It has been speculated that the distribution of functional chemistry within this layer could play a role in solute filtration. The only technique potentially capable of probing the distribution of functional chemistry within the active PA layer with sufficient spatial and energy resolution is scanning transmission electron microscopy combined with electron energy-loss spectroscopy (STEM-EELS). Its use is a challenge because organic materials suffer beam-induced damage at relatively modest electron doses. Here we show that it is possible to use the N K-edge to map the active layer of a PA film using monochromated EELS spectrum imaging. The active PA layer is 12 nm thick, which supports previous neutron reflectivity data. Clear changes in the fine structure of the C K-edge across the PA films are measured and we use machine learning to assign fine structure at this edge. Using this method, we map highly heterogeneous intensity variations in functional chemistry attributed to N—C═C bonds within the PA. Similarities are found with previous molecular dynamics simulations of PA showing regions with a higher density of amide bonding as a result of the aggregation process at similar length scales. The chemical pathways that can be deduced may offer a clearer understanding of the transport mechanisms through the membrane.
Depalle B, McGilvery CM, Nobakhti S, et al., 2020, Osteopontin regulates type I collagen fibril formation in bone tissue, Acta Biomaterialia, ISSN: 1742-7061
Osteopontin (OPN) is a non-collagenous protein involved in biomineralization of bone tissue. Beyond its role in biomineralization, we show that osteopontin is essential to the quality of collagen fibrils in bone. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that, in Opn−/− tissue, the organization of the collagen fibrils was highly heterogeneous, more disorganized than WT bone and comprised of regions of both organized and disorganized matrix with a reduced density. The Opn−/− bone tissue also exhibited regions in which the collagen had lost its characteristic fibrillar structure, and the crystals were disorganized. Using nanobeam electron diffraction, we show that damage to structural integrity of collagen fibrils in Opn−/- bone tissue and their organization causes mineral disorganization, which could ultimately affect its mechanical integrity.
Rodrigues RL, Xie F, Porter AE, et al., 2020, Geometry-induced protein reorientation on the spikes of plasmonic gold nanostars, NANOSCALE ADVANCES, Vol: 2, Pages: 1144-1151, ISSN: 2516-0230
Gonzalez Carter D, Goode A, Kiryushko D, et al., 2019, Quantification of blood-brain barrier transport and neuronal toxicity of unlabelled multiwalled carbon nanotubes as a function of surface charge, Nanoscale, Vol: 11, Pages: 22054-22069, ISSN: 2040-3364
Nanoparticles capable of penetrating the blood-brain barrier (BBB) will greatly advance the delivery of therapies against brain disorders. Carbon nanotubes hold great potential as delivery vehicles due to their high aspect-ratio and cell-penetrating ability. Studies have shown multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) cross the BBB, however they have largely relied on labelling methods to track and quantify transport, or on individual electron microscopy images to qualitatively assess transcytosis. Therefore, new direct and quantitative methods, using well-defined and unlabelled MWCNT, are needed to compare BBB translocation of different MWCNT types. Using highly controlled anionic (-), cationic (+) and non-ionic (0) functionalized MWCNT (fMWCNT), we correlate UV-visible spectroscopy with quantitative transmission electron microscopy, quantified from c. 270 endothelial cells, to examine cellular uptake, BBB transport and neurotoxicity of unlabelled fMWCNT. Our results demonstrate that: i) a large fraction of cationic and non-ionic, but not anionic fMWCNT become trapped at the luminal brain endothelial cell membrane; ii) despite high cell association, fMWCNT uptake by brain endothelial cells is low (< 1.5% ID) and does not correlate with BBB translocation, iii) anionic fMWCNT have highest transport levels across an in vitro model of the human BBB compared to non-ionic or cationic nanotubes; and iv) fMWCNT are not toxic to hippocampal neurons at relevant abluminal concentrations; however, fMWCNT charge has an effect on carbon nanotube neurotoxicity at higher fMWCNT concentrations. This quantitative combination of microscopy and spectroscopy, with cellular assays, provides a crucial strategy to predict brain penetration efficiency and neurotoxicity of unlabelled MWCNT and other nanoparticle technologies relevant to human health.
Gomez-Gonzalez MA, Koronfel MA, Goode AE, et al., 2019, Spatially resolved dissolution and speciation changes of ZnO nanorods during short-term in situ incubation in a simulated wastewater environment, ACS Nano, Vol: 13, Pages: 11049-11061, ISSN: 1936-0851
Zinc oxide engineered nanomaterials (ZnO ENMs) are used in a variety of applications worldwide due to their optoelectronic and antibacterial properties with potential contaminant risk to the environment following their disposal. One of the main potential pathways for ZnO nanomaterials to reach the environment is via urban wastewater treatment plants. So far there is no technique that can provide spatiotemporal nanoscale information about the rates and mechanisms by which the individual nanoparticles transform. Fundamental knowledge of how the surface chemistry of individual particles change, and the heterogeneity of transformations within the system, will reveal the critical physicochemical properties determining environmental damage and deactivation. We applied a methodology based on spatially resolved in situ X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM), allowing observation of real-time dissolution and morphological and chemical evolution of synthetic template-grown ZnO nanorods (∼725 nm length, ∼140 nm diameter). Core-shell ZnO-ZnS nanostructures were formed rapidly within 1 h, and significant amounts of ZnS species were generated, with a corresponding depletion of ZnO after 3 h. Diffuse nanoparticles of ZnS, Zn3(PO4)2, and Zn adsorbed to Fe-oxyhydroxides were also imaged in some nonsterically impeded regions after 3 h. The formation of diffuse nanoparticles was affected by ongoing ZnO dissolution (quantified by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) and the humic acid content in the simulated sludge. Complementary ex situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy confirmed a significant decrease in the ZnO contribution over time. Application of time-resolved XFM enables predictions about the rates at which ZnO nanomaterials transform during their first stages of the wastewater treatment process.
O'Connell RA, Porter AE, Higgins JS, et al., 2019, Phase behaviour of poly(2, 6-diphenyl-p-phenylene oxide) (PPPO) in mixed solvents, Polymer, Vol: 180, ISSN: 0032-3861
The solution phase behaviour of poly(2, 6-diphenyl-p-phenylene oxide) (PPPO) is investigated by a combination of turbidimetry, infrared spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering and densitometry, combined with calorimetry and X-ray scattering. We select dichloromethane (DCM) and heptane as, respectively, representative good and poor solvents for the polymer. This ternary system results in a miscibility gap which can be utilised for the design and fabrication of PPPO porous materials, membranes and scaffolds via phase inversion. We establish the phase diagram and resolve the kinetic solidification condition arising from the intersection between the coexistence and glass transition curves. PPPO exhibits a high 230 ∘C and is found to crystallise at 336 ∘C, and melt at 423, 445 ∘C with a double endotherm. The kinetics of demixing and (buoyancy-driven) stratification are quantified by optical imaging and the PPPO-rich phase analysed by SAXS/WAXS to resolve both amorphous and crystalline phases. Equipped with this knowledge, we demonstrate the controlled formation of nodular, bicontinuous and cellular morphologies by non-solvent induced demixing.
Leo BF, Fearn S, Gonzalez-Carter D, et al., 2019, Label-free TOF-SIMS imaging of sulfur producing enzymes inside microglia cells following exposure to silver nanowires, Analytical Chemistry, Vol: 91, Pages: 11098-11107, ISSN: 0003-2700
There are no methods sensitive enough to detect enzymes within cells, without the use of analyte labelling. Here we show that it is possible to detect protein ion signals of three different H2S-synthesizing enzymes inside microglia after pre-treatment with silver nanowires (AgNW) using time of flight-secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS). Protein fragment ions, including the fragment of amino acid (C4H8N+ - 70 amu), fragments of the sulfur producing cystathionine-containing enzymes and the Ag+ ion signal could be detected without the use of any labels; the cells were mapped using the C4H8N+ amino acid fragment. Scanning electron microscopy imaging and energy dispersive x-ray chemical analysis showed that the AgNWs were inside the same cells imaged by TOF-SIMS and transformed chemically into crystalline Ag2S within cells in which the sulfur producing proteins were detected. The presence of these sulfur producing cystathionine-containing enzymes within the cells was confirmed by Western Blots and confocal microscopy images of fluorescently labelled antibodies against the sulfur producing enzymes. Label-free ToF-SIMS is very promising for the label-free identification of H2S-contributing enzymes and their cellular localization in biological systems. The technique could in future be used to identify which of these enzymes are most contributory.
Ruenraroengsak P, Kiryushko D, Theodorou IG, et al., 2019, Frizzled-7-targeted delivery of zinc oxide nanoparticles to drug-resistant breast cancer cells, Nanoscale, Vol: 11, Pages: 12858-12870, ISSN: 2040-3364
There is a need for novel strategies to treat aggressive breast cancer subtypes and overcome drug resistance. ZnO nanoparticles (NPs) have potential in cancer therapy due to their ability to potently and selectively induce cancer cell apoptosis. Here, we tested the in vitro chemotherapeutic efficacy of ZnONPs loaded via a mesoporous silica nanolayer (MSN) towards drug-sensitive breast cancer cells (MCF-7: estrogen receptor-positive, CAL51: triple-negative) and their drug-resistant counterparts (MCF-7TX, CALDOX). ZnO-MSNs were coated on to gold nanostars (AuNSs) for future imaging capabilities in the NIR-II range. Electron and confocal microscopy showed that MSN-ZnO-AuNSs accumulated close to the plasma membrane and were internalized by cells. High-resolution electron microscopy showed that MSN coating degraded outside the cells, releasing ZnONPs that interacted with cell membranes. MSN-ZnO-AuNSs efficiently reduced the viability of all cell lines, and CAL51/CALDOX cells were more susceptible than MCF7/MCF-7-TX cells. MSN-ZnO-AuNSs were then conjugated with the antibody to Frizzled-7 (FZD-7), the receptor upregulated by several breast cancer cells. We used the disulphide (S-S) linker that could be cleaved with a high concentration of glutathione normally observed within cancer cells, releasing Zn2+ into the cytoplasm. FZD-7 targeting resulted in approximately three-fold amplified toxicity of MSN-ZnO-AuNSs towards the MCF-7TX drug-resistant cell line with the highest FZD-7 expression. This study shows that ZnO-MSs are promising tools to treat triple-negative and drug-resistant breast cancers and highlights the potential clinical utility of FZD-7 for delivery of nanomedicines and imaging probes specifically to these cancer types.
Parichart N, Tsigkou O, Li S, et al., 2019, Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) differentiate into an osteogenic lineage in presence of strontium containing bioactive glass nanoparticles, Acta Biomaterialia, Vol: 90, Pages: 373-392, ISSN: 1742-7061
While bioactive glass and ions released during its dissolution are known to stimulate osteoblast cells, the effect bioactive glass has on human stem cells is not clear. Here, we show that spherical monodispersed strontium containing bioactive nanoparticles (Sr-BGNPs) of composition 90.6 mol% SiO2, 5.0 mol% CaO, 4.4% mol% SrO (4.4%Sr-BGNPs) and 88.8 mol% SiO2, 1.8 mol% CaO, and 9.4 mol% SrO (9.4%Sr-BGNPs) stimulate bone marrow derived human stem cell (hMSC) differentiation down an osteogenic pathway without osteogenic supplements. The particles were synthesised using a modified Stӧber process and had diameters of 90 ± 10 nm. Previous work on similar particles that did not contain Sr (80 mol% SiO2, 20 mol% CaO) showed stem cells did not differentiate when exposed to the particles. Here, both compositions of the Sr-BGNPs (up to concentration of 250 μg/mL) stimulated the early-, mid-, and late-stage markers of osteogenic differentiation and accelerated mineralisation in the absence of osteogenic supplements. Sr ions play a key role in osteogenic stem cell differentiation. Sr-BGNP dissolution products did not adversely affect hMSC viability and no significant differences in viability were measured between each particle composition. Confocal and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) demonstrated that monodispersed Sr- BGNPs were internalised and localised within vesicles in the cytoplasm of hMSCs. Degradation of particles inside the cells was observed, whilst maintaining effective cations (Ca and Sr) in their silica network after 24 h in culture. The uptake of Sr-BGNPs by hMSCs was reduced by inhibitors of specific routes of endocytosis, indicating that the Sr-BGNPs uptake by hMSCs was probably via mixed endocytosis mechanisms. Sr-BGNPs have potential as injectable therapeutic devices for bone regeneration or treatment of conditions such as osteoporosis, because of their ability deliver a sustained release of osteogenic inorganic cations, e.g. calcium (Ca) or a
Koronfel MA, Goode AE, Gomez-Gonzalez MA, et al., 2019, Chemical Evolution of CoCrMo Wear Particles: an In-Situ Characterisation Study, The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, ISSN: 1932-7447
Singh M, Nabavi E, Zhou Y, et al., 2019, Laparoscopic fluorescence image-guided photothermal therapy enhances cancer diagnosis and treatment, Nanotheranostics, Vol: 3, Pages: 89-102, ISSN: 2206-7418
Endoscopy is the gold standard investigation in the diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancers and the management of early and pre-malignant lesions either by resection or ablation. Recently gold nanoparticles have shown promise in cancer diagnosis and therapeutics (theranostics). The combination of multifunctional gold nanoparticles with near infrared fluorescence endoscopy for accurate mapping of early or pre-malignant lesions can potentially enhance diagnostic efficiency while precisely directing endoscopic near infrared photothermal therapy for established cancers. The integration of endoscopy with near infrared fluorescence imaging and photothermal therapy was aided by the accumulation of our multifunctionalized PEG-GNR-Cy5.5-anti-EGFR-antibody gold nanorods within gastrointestinal tumor xenografts in BALB/c mice. Control mice (with tumors) received either gold nanorods or photothermal therapy, while study mice received both treatment modalities. Local (tumor-centric) and systemic effects were examined for 30 days. Clear endoscopic near infrared fluorescence signals were observed emanating specifically from tumor sites and these corresponded precisely to the tumor margins. Endoscopic fluorescence-guided near infrared photothermal therapy successfully induced tumor ablations in all 20 mice studied, with complete histological clearance and minimal collateral damage. Multi-source analysis from histology, electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, blood, clinical evaluation, psychosocial and weight monitoring demonstrated the inherent safety of this technology. The combination of this innovative nanotechnology with gold standard clinical practice will be of value in enhancing the early optical detection of gastrointestinal cancers and a useful adjunct for its therapy.
Theodorou I, Ruenraroengsak P, Carter D, et al., 2019, Towards multiplexed near-infrared cellular imaging using gold nanostar arrays with tunable fluorescence enhancement, Nanoscale, Vol: 11, Pages: 2079-2088, ISSN: 2040-3364
Sensitive detection of disease biomarkers expressed by human cells is critical to the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic methods. Here we report that plasmonic arrays based on gold nanostar (AuNS) monolayers enable up to 19-fold fluorescence enhancement for cellular imaging in the near-infrared (NIR) biological window, allowing the application of low quantum yield fluorophores for sensitive cellular imaging. The high fluorescence enhancement together with low autofluorescence interference in this wavelength range enable higher signal-to-noise ratio compared to other diagnostic modalities. Using AuNSs of different geometries and therefore controllable electric field enhancement, cellular imaging with tunable enhancement factors is achieved, which may be useful for the development of multicolour and multiplexed platforms for a panel of biomarkers, allowing to distinguish different subcell populations at the single cell level. Finally, the uptake of AuNSs within HeLa cells and their high biocompatibility, pave the way for novel high-performance in vitro and in vivo diagnostic platforms.
Gonzalez-Carter DA, Ong ZY, McGilvery CM, et al., 2019, L-DOPA functionalized, multi-branched gold nanoparticles as brain-targeted nano-vehicles, Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, Vol: 15, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 1549-9634
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a protective endothelial barrier lining the brain microvasculature which prevents brain delivery of therapies against brain diseases. Hence, there is an urgent need to develop vehicles which efficiently penetrate the BBB to deliver therapies into the brain. The drug L-DOPA efficiently and specifically crosses the BBB via the large neutral amino acid transporter (LAT)-1 protein to enter the brain. Thus, we synthesized L-DOPA-functionalized multi-branched nanoflower-like gold nanoparticles (L-DOPA-AuNFs) using a seed-mediated method involving catechols as a direct reducing-cum-capping agent, and examined their ability to cross the BBB to act as brain-penetrating nanovehicles. We show that L-DOPA-AuNFs efficiently penetrate the BBB compared to similarly sized and shaped AuNFs functionalized with a non-targeting ligand. Furthermore, we show that L-DOPA-AuNFs are efficiently internalized by brain macrophages without inducing inflammation. These results demonstrate the application of L-DOPA-AuNFs as a non-inflammatory BBB-penetrating nanovehicle to efficiently deliver therapies into the brain.
Theodorou I, Jiang Q, Malms L, et al., 2018, Fluorescence enhancement from single gold nanostars: towards ultra-bright emission in the first and second near-infrared biological windows, Nanoscale, Vol: 10, Pages: 15854-15864, ISSN: 2040-3364
Gold nanostars (AuNSs) are promising agents for the development of high-performance diagnostic devices, by enabling metal enhanced fluorescence (MEF) in the physiological near-infrared (NIR) and second near-infrared (NIR-II) windows. The local electric field near their sharp tips and between their branches can be enhanced by several orders of magnitude, holding great promise for large fluorescence enhancements from single AuNS particles, rather than relying on interparticle coupling in nanoparticle substrates. Here, guided by electric field simulations, two different types of AuNSs with controlled morphologies and plasmonic responses in the NIR and NIR-II regions are used to investigate the mechanism of MEF from colloidal AuNSs. Fluorophore conjugation to AuNSs allows significant fluorescence enhancement of up to 30 times in the NIR window, and up to 4-fold enhancement in the NIR-II region. Together with other inherent advantages of AuNSs, including their multispike morphology offering easy access to cell membranes and their large surface area providing flexible multifunctionality, AuNS are promising for the development of in vivo imaging applications. Using time-resolved fluorescence measurements to deconvolute semi-quantitatively excitation enhancement from emission enhancement, we show that a combination of enhanced excitation and an increased radiative decay rate, both contribute to the observed large enhancement. In accordance to our electric field modelling, however, excitation enhancement is the component that varies most with particle morphology. These findings provide important insights into the mechanism of MEF from AuNSs, and can be used to further guide particle design for high contrast enhancement, enabling the development of MEF biodetection technologies.
Kiryushko D, Pankratova S, Klingelhofer J, et al., 2018, The S100A4 protein signals through the ErbB4 receptor to promote neuronal survival., Theranostics, Vol: 8, Pages: 3977-3990, ISSN: 1838-7640
Understanding the mechanisms of neurodegeneration is crucial for development of therapies to treat neurological disorders. S100 proteins are extensively expressed in the injured brain but S100's roleand signalling in neural cells remain elusive. We recently demonstrated that the S100A4 protein protects neurons in brain injury and designed S100A4-derived peptides mimicking its beneficial effects. Here we show that neuroprotection by S100A4 involves the growth factor family receptorErbB4 and its ligand Neuregulin 1 (NRG), key regulators of neuronal plasticity and implicated in multiple brain pathologies. The neuroprotective effect of S100A4 depends on ErbB4 expression andthe ErbB4 signalling partners ErbB2/Akt, and is reduced by functional blockade of NRG/ErbB4 in cell models of neurodegeneration. We also detect binding of S100A4 with ErbB1 (EGFR) and ErbB3. S100A4-derived peptides interact with, and signal through ErbB, are neuroprotective inprimary and immortalized dopaminergic neurons, and do not affect cell proliferation/motility - features which make them promising as potential neuroprotectants. Our data suggest that the S100- ErbB axis may be an important mechanism regulating neuronal survival and plasticity
Ellis T, Chiappi M, García-Trenco A, et al., 2018, Multimetallic microparticles increase the potency of rifampicin against intracellular mycobacterium tuberculosis, ACS Nano, Vol: 12, Pages: 5228-5240, ISSN: 1936-0851
Mycobacterium tuberculosis ( M.tb) has the extraordinary ability to adapt to the administration of antibiotics through the development of resistance mechanisms. By rapidly exporting drugs from within the cytosol, these pathogenic bacteria diminish antibiotic potency and drive the presentation of drug-tolerant tuberculosis (TB). The membrane integrity of M.tb is pivotal in retaining these drug-resistant traits. Silver (Ag) and zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles (NPs) are established antimicrobial agents that effectively compromise membrane stability, giving rise to increased bacterial permeability to antibiotics. In this work, biodegradable multimetallic microparticles (MMPs), containing Ag NPs and ZnO NPs, were developed for use in pulmonary delivery of antituberculous drugs to the endosomal system of M.tb-infected macrophages. Efficient uptake of MMPs by M.tb-infected THP1 cells was demonstrated using an in vitro macrophage infection model, with direct interaction between MMPs and M.tb visualized with the use of electron FIB-SEM tomography. The release of Ag NPs and ZnO NPs within the macrophage endosomal system increased the potency of the model antibiotic rifampicin by as much as 76%, realized through an increase in membrane disorder of intracellular M.tb. MMPs were effective at independently driving membrane destruction of extracellular bacilli located at the exterior face of THP1 macrophages. This MMP system presents as an effective drug delivery vehicle that could be used for the transport of antituberculous drugs such as rifampicin to infected alveolar macrophages, while increasing drug potency. By increasing M.tb membrane permeability, such a system may prove effectual in improving treatment of drug-susceptible TB in addition to M.tb strains considered drug-resistant.
Botelho D, Leo BF, Massa C, et al., 2018, Exposure to silver nanospheres leads to altered respiratory mechanics and delayed immune response in an in vivo Murine model, Frontiers in Pharmacology, Vol: 9, ISSN: 1663-9812
Here we examine the organ level toxicology of both carbon black (CB) and silver nanoparticles (AgNP). We aim to determine metal-specific effects to respiratory function, inflammation and potential interactions with lung lining fluid (LLF). C57Bl6/J male mice were intratracheally instilled with saline (control), low (0.05 μg/g) or high (0.5 μg/g) doses of either AgNP or CB 15 nm nanospheres. Lung histology, cytology, surfactant composition and function, inflammatory gene expression, and pulmonary function were measured at 1, 3, and 7 days post-exposure. Acutely, high dose CB resulted in an inflammatory response, increased neutrophilia and cytokine production, without alteration in surfactant composition or respiratory mechanics. Low dose CB had no effect. Neither low nor high dose AgNPs resulted in an acute inflammatory response, but there was an increase in work of breathing. Three days post-exposure with CB, a persistent neutrophilia was noted. High dose AgNP resulted in an elevated number of macrophages and invasion of lymphocytes. Additionally, AgNP treated mice displayed increased expression of IL1B, IL6, CCL2, and IL10. However, there were no significant changes in respiratory mechanics. At day 7, inflammation had resolved in AgNP-treated mice, but tissue stiffness and resistance were significantly decreased, which was accompanied by an increase in surfactant protein D (SP-D) content. These data demonstrate that the presence of metal alters the response of the lung to nanoparticle exposure. AgNP-surfactant interactions may alter respiratory function and result in a delayed immune response, potentially due to modified airway epithelial cell function.
Koronfel MA, Goode AE, Weker JN, et al., 2018, Understanding the reactivity of CoCrMo-implant wear particles, npj Materials Degradation, Vol: 2, ISSN: 2397-2106
CoCrMo-based metal-on-metal hip implants experienced unexpectedly high failure rates despite the high wear and corrosion resistance of the bulk material. Although they exhibit a lower volumetric wear compared to other implant materials, CoCrMo-based implants produced a significantly larger 'number' of smaller wear particles. CoCrMo is nominally an extremely stable material with high Cr content providing passivity. However, despite the Co:Cr ratio in the original alloy being 2:1; chemical analyses of wear particles from periprosthetic tissue have found the particles to be composed predominately of Cr species, with only trace amounts of Co remaining. Here a correlative spectroscopy and microscopy approach has shown that these particles dissolve via a non-stoichiometric, and geometrically inhomogeneous, mechanism similar to de-alloying. This mechanism is previously unreported for this material and was not apparent in any of the regulatory required tests, suggesting that such tests are insufficiently discriminating.
Kenney JPL, Ellis T, Nicol FS, et al., 2018, The effect of bacterial growth phase and culture concentration on U(VI) removal from aqueous solution, Chemical Geology, Vol: 482, Pages: 61-71, ISSN: 0009-2541
Bacteria play a key role in controlling the mobility of contaminants, such as uranium (U), in the environment. Uranium could be sourced from disposed radioactive waste, derived either from surface disposal trenches for Low Level Waste (LLW) that, because of the waste type and disposal concept, would typically present acidic conditions or from the geological disposal of LLW or Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) that, because of the waste type and the disposal concept, would typically present alkaline conditions. In disposed radioactive waste, there could be variable amounts of cellulosic material. Bacterial cells may be living in a range of different growth phases, depending on the growth conditions and nutrients available at the time any waste-derived U migrated to the cells. A key knowledge gap to date has been the lack of a mechanistic understanding of how bacterial growth phases (exponential, stationary, and death phase) affect the ability of bacteria to remove U(VI) from solution. To address this, we first characterised the cells using potentiometric titrations to detect any differences in proton binding to proton active sites on Pseudomonas putida cells at each growth phase under aerobic conditions, or under anaerobic conditions favourable to U(IV) reoxidation. We then conducted batch U(VI) removal experiments with bacteria at each phase suspended in 1 and 10 ppm U aqueous solutions with the pH adjusted from 2 to 12 as well as with culture concentrations from 0.01 to 10 g/L, to identify the minimal concentration of bacteria in solution necessary to affect U removal. We found that, in death phase, P. putida cells exhibited double the concentration of proton active sites than bacteria grown to exponential and stationary phase. However, we did not see a difference in the extent of U(VI) removal, from a 10 ppm U solution, between the different growth phases as a function of pH (2 to 12). Culture concentration affected U removal between pH 2–8, where U removal dec
Klosowski M, Carzaniga R, Shefelbine S, et al., 2018, Nanoanalytical electron microscopy of events predisposing to mineralisation of turkey tendon, Scientific Reports, Vol: 8, ISSN: 2045-2322
The macro- and micro-structures of mineralised tissues hierarchy are well described and understood. However, investigation of their nanostructure is limited due to the intrinsic complexity of biological systems. Preceding transmission electron microscopy studies investigating mineralising tissues have not resolved fully the initial stages of mineral nucleation and growth within the collagen fibrils. In this study, analytical scanning transmission electron microscopy and electron energy-loss spectroscopy were employed to characterise the morphology, crystallinity and chemistry of the mineral at different stages of mineralization using a turkey tendon model. In the poorly mineralised regions, calcium ions associated with the collagen fibrils and ellipsoidal granules and larger clusters composed of amorphous calcium phosphate were detected. In the fully mineralised regions, the mineral had transformed into crystalline apatite with a plate-like morphology. A change in the nitrogen K-edge was observed and related to modifications of the functional groups associated with the mineralisation process. This transformation seen in the nitrogen K-edge might be an important step in maturation and mineralisation of collagen and lend fundamental insight into how tendon mineralises.
Nobakhti S, Depalle B, Porter A, et al., 2017, The role of osteopontin in the mechanics of the bone across length-scales., Annual Meeting of the American-Society-for-Bone-and-Mineral-Research (ASBMR), Publisher: WILEY, Pages: S190-S190, ISSN: 0884-0431
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