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Polyvinylpyrrolidone-coated gold nanoparticles inhibit endothelial cell viability, proliferation, and ERK1/2 phosphorylation and reduce the magnitude of endothelial-independent dilator responses in isolated aortic vessels

Authors Mohamed T, Matou-Nasri S, Farooq A, Whitehead D, Azzawi M

Received 19 March 2017

Accepted for publication 7 August 2017

Published 13 December 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 8813—8830


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Israel (Rudi) Rubinstein

Teba Mohamed,1,* Sabine Matou-Nasri,2,* Asima Farooq,3 Debra Whitehead,3 May Azzawi1

1School of Healthcare Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK; 2Cell and Gene Therapy Group, Medical Genomics Research Department, King Abdullah International Medical Research Centre, National Guard Health Affairs, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 3School of Science and the Environment, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) demonstrate clinical potential for drug delivery and imaging diagnostics. As AuNPs aggregate in physiological fluids, polymer-surface modifications are utilized to allow their stabilization and enhance their retention time in blood. However, the impact of AuNPs on blood vessel function remains poorly understood. In the present study, we investigated the effects of AuNPs and their stabilizers on endothelial cell (EC) and vasodilator function.
Materials and methods: Citrate-stabilized AuNPs (12±3 nm) were synthesized and surface-modified using mercapto polyethylene glycol (mPEG) and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) polymers. Their uptake by isolated ECs and whole vessels was visualized using transmission electron microscopy and quantified using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Their biological effects on EC proliferation, viability, apoptosis, and the ERK1/2-signaling pathway were determined using automated cell counting, flow cytometry, and Western blotting, respectively. Endothelial-dependent and independent vasodilator functions were assessed using isolated murine aortic vessel rings ex vivo.
Results: AuNPs were located in endothelial endosomes within 30 minutes’ exposure, while their surface modification delayed this cellular uptake over time. After 24 hours’ exposure, all AuNPs (including polymer-modified AuNPs) induced apoptosis and decreased cell viability/proliferation. These inhibitory effects were lost after 48 hours’ exposure (except for the PVP-modified AuNPs). Furthermore, all AuNPs decreased acetylcholine (ACh)-induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2, a key signaling protein of cell function. mPEG-modified AuNPs had lower cytostatic effects than PVP-modified AuNPs. Citrate-stabilized AuNPs did not alter endothelial-dependent vasodilation induced by ACh, but attenuated endothelial-independent responses induced by sodium nitroprusside. PVP-modified AuNPs attenuated ACh-induced dilation, whereas mPEG-modified AuNPs did not, though this was dose-related.
Conclusion: We demonstrated that mPEG-modified AuNPs at a therapeutic dosage showed lower cytostatic effects and were less detrimental to vasodilator function than PVP-modified AuNPs, indicating greater potential as agents for diagnostic imaging and therapy.

Keywords: nanoparticles, gold, vascular, vasodilation, artery, cell culture

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