Engineered silica nanoparticles are biologically safe vehicles to deliver drugs or genes to liver cells
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Engineered silica nanoparticles (SiNP) are emerging materials for medical applications. Evaluating biological responses of specific cells treated with engineered silica nanoparticles is however essential. We synthesized and characterized the physicochemical properties of silica nanoparticles with two different sizes of 10 and 100 nm (10SiNP and 100SiNP) dispersed in cell culture medium. HuH-7, an epithelial-like human hepatoblastoma cell line and SK-HEP-1, a liver sinusoidal endothelial cell line (LSEC) are employed to evaluate their biological responses for the SiNP treatment. Primary human lymphocytes are used to assess genotoxicity recommended by OECD guidelines while erythrocytes are used to assess hemolytic activity. The engineered silica nanoparticles are not able to produce radical species, to alter the mitochondrial membrane potential, and induce any adverse effects on cell proliferation. The colony formation ability of HuH-7 hepatoblastoma cells was not affected following the SiNP treatment. Furthermore, SiNPs do not induce hemolysis of red blood cells and are not genotoxic. These findings suggest that SiNPs regardless of the size, amount, and incubation time are biologically safe vehicles to deliver drugs or genes to the liver. © 2020 Elsevier B.V.