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Shape-dependent antibacterial effects of non-cytotoxic gold nanoparticles

Authors Penders J, Stolzoff M, Hickey DJ, Andersson M, Webster TJ

Received 12 October 2016

Accepted for publication 7 February 2017

Published 29 March 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 2457—2468


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Israel (Rudi) Rubinstein

Video abstract presented by Jelle Penders.

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Jelle Penders,1,2 Michelle Stolzoff,3 Daniel J Hickey,1 Martin Andersson,2 Thomas J Webster1

1Department of Chemical Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA; 2Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden; 3Department of Bioengineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA

Abstract: Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) of various shapes (including spheres, stars and flowers), with similar dimensions, were synthesized and evaluated for their antibacterial effects toward Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium responsible for numerous life-threatening infections worldwide. Optical growth curve measurements and Gompertz modeling showed significant AuNP shape- and concentration-dependent decreases in bacterial growth with increases in bacterial growth lag time. To evaluate prospective use in in vivo systems, the cytotoxicity of the same AuNPs was evaluated toward human dermal fibroblasts in vitro by 3-(4,5 dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium (MTS) viability assays and confocal microscopy. No indication of any mammalian cell toxicity or morphological effects was found. Additionally, it was observed that the AuNPs were readily internalized in fibroblasts after 4 days of incubation. Most importantly, the results of the present study showed that gold nanoflowers in particular possessed the most promising non-cytotoxic mammalian cell behavior with the greatest shape-dependent antibacterial activity-promising properties for their future investigation in a wide range of anti-infection applications.

Keywords: gold, nanoparticles, nanoflowers, nanostars, S. aureus, fibroblasts

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