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Wednesday, 08 April 2020
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Hydrophobicity of nanoparticles influences their toxicity

cell membrane nanoparticlesToxicity of nanoparticles depends on many factors and pathways. Permeation of a particle into the cell membrane or cell interrior plays probably the major role in the degree of its cytotoxicity. Keeping in mind a tremendous number of particles of diverse composition, shape and aspect ratios, the experimental validation of each type of the particles becomes a costly and long affair. Computational methods help at this step to evaluate the potential danger of existing or new nnomaterials.

The ASAP article published by a team of Spanish and German scientists describes the application of Monte Carlo simulation to see how the hydrophobicity of particles influences the way of their integration into the cellular membrane and how the permiability of the membrane is altered.

Interestingly, the highest change of the membrane permeability was calculated for the particles possessing a quite narrow range of medium hydrophobicity, while hydrophilic or hydrophobic particles didn’t change the permeability much. Further details on the method and results are available online at ACS Nano, DOI 10.1021/nn3028858.

Figure caption: Typical snapshots of the system with homogeneous nanoparticles of different hydrophobicity: (a) below and (b) above the aggregation point, (c) after aggregate internalization in the membrane, and (d) after the dissolution of the aggregate in the membrane core.
Image published with permission of the American Chemical Society.

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