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Toxicity and antibacterial assessment of chitosan-coated silver nanoparticles on human pathogens and macrophage cells

Authors Jena, Mohanty, Mallick, Jacob, Sonawnae A

Received 9 November 2011

Accepted for publication 11 December 2011

Published 3 April 2012 Volume 2012:7 Pages 1805—1818


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Prajna Jena1, Soumitra Mohanty1, Rojee Mallick1, Biju Jacob2, Avinash Sonawane1
1School of Biotechnology, KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India; 2Center for Innovation, Technopark Technology Business Incubator, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Background: Pathogenic bacteria are able to develop various strategies to counteract the bactericidal action of antibiotics. Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) have emerged as a potential alternative to conventional antibiotics because of their potent antimicrobial properties. The purpose of this study was to synthesize chitosan-stabilized AgNPs (CS-AgNPs) and test for their cytotoxic, genotoxic, macrophage cell uptake, antibacterial, and antibiofilm activities.
Methods: AgNPs were synthesized using chitosan as both a stabilizing and a reducing agent. Antibacterial activity was determined by colony-forming unit assay and scanning electron microscopy. Genotoxic and cytotoxic activity were determined by DNA fragmentation, comet, and MTT [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide] assays. Cellular uptake and intracellular antibacterial activity were tested on macrophages.
Results: CS-AgNPs exhibited potent antibacterial activity against different human pathogens and also impeded bacterial biofilm formation. Scanning electron microscopy analysis indicated that CS-AgNPs kill bacteria by disrupting the cell membrane. CS-AgNPs showed no significant cytotoxic or DNA damage effect on macrophages at the bactericidal dose. Propidium iodide staining indicated active endocytosis of CS-AgNPs resulting in reduced intracellular bacterial survival in macrophages.
Conclusion: The present study concludes that at a specific dose, chitosan-based AgNPs kill bacteria without harming the host cells, thus representing a potential template for the design of antibacterial agents to decrease bacterial colonization and to overcome the problem of drug resistance.

Keywords: chitosan-silver nanoparticles, antibiofilm, cytotoxicity, genotoxicity

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