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Blood–brain barrier transport studies, aggregation, and molecular dynamics simulation of multiwalled carbon nanotube functionalized with fluorescein isothiocyanate

Authors Shityakov S, Salvador E, Pastorin G, Förster C

Received 26 May 2014

Accepted for publication 3 September 2014

Published 3 March 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 1703—1713

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S68429

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas J Webster

Sergey Shityakov,1 Ellaine Salvador,1 Giorgia Pastorin,2 Carola Förster1

1Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany; 2Department of Pharmacy, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Abstract: In this study, the ability of a multiwalled carbon nanotube functionalized with fluorescein isothiocyanate (MWCNT–FITC) was assessed as a prospective central nervous system-targeting drug delivery system to permeate the blood–brain barrier. The results indicated that the MWCNT–FITC conjugate is able to penetrate microvascular cerebral endothelial monolayers; its concentrations in the Transwell® system were fully equilibrated after 48 hours. Cell viability test, together with phase-contrast and fluorescence microscopies, did not detect any signs of MWCNT–FITC toxicity on the cerebral endothelial cells. These microscopic techniques also revealed presumably the intracellular localization of fluorescent MWCNT–FITCs apart from their massive nonfluorescent accumulation on the cellular surface due to nanotube lipophilic properties. In addition, the 1,000 ps molecular dynamics simulation in vacuo discovered the phenomenon of carbon nanotube aggregation driven by van der Waals forces via MWCNT–FITC rapid dissociation as an intermediate phase.

Keywords: blood–brain barrier, multiwalled carbon nanotube, fluorescein isothiocyanate, Transwell® system, aggregation, fluorescence microscopy, molecular dynamics

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