Document Type


Publication Title

International Journal of Molecular Sciences



Publication Date



Silver (Ag) nanomaterials are increasingly used in a variety of commercial applications. This study examined the effect of size (20 and 110 nm) and surface stabilization (citrate and PVP coatings) on toxicity, particle uptake and NLRP3 inflammasome activation in a variety of macrophage and epithelial cell lines. The results indicated that smaller Ag (20 nm), regardless of coating, were more toxic in both cell types and most active in the THP-1 macrophages. TEM imaging demonstrated that 20 nm Ag nanospheres dissolved more rapidly than 110 nm Ag nanospheres in acidic phagolysosomes consistent with Ag ion mediated toxicity. In addition, there were some significant differences in epithelial cell line in vitro exposure models. The order of the epithelial cell lines’ sensitivity to Ag was LA4 > MLE12 > C10. The macrophage sensitivity to Ag toxicity was C57BL/6 AM > MARCO null AM, which indicated that the MARCO receptor was involved in uptake of the negatively charged Ag particles. These results support the idea that Ag nanosphere toxicity and NLRP3 inflammasome activation are determined by the rate of surface dissolution, which is based on relative surface area. This study highlights the importance of utilizing multiple models for in vitro studies to evaluate nanomaterials.




©2014 the authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.