Morphology of nanoparticles is critical to their biological
21 December 2011
Southampton University researchers have shown that the
morphology of nanoparticles is critical to the way they interact with
Endothelial cells are the building units of angiogenesis, a
critical biological process that is involved in wound healing,
cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
“We already know that a small dose of gold nanoparticles can
activate or inhibit angiogenic genes in endothelial cells” said Dr
Kanaras. “Now, our new findings published this week show how
nanoparticle morphology strongly affects their interaction with
endothelial cells. This will be of critical importance to
nanotechnological applications that target drug delivery and
In the study, Dr Kanaras and his colleagues investigated how the
shape and size of gold nanoparticles influences their uptake by
endothelial cells — they compared gold nanospheres, nanorods, hollow
gold spheres, and core/shell silica/gold nanocrystals, coated with
monocarboxy (1-mercaptoundec-11-yl) hexaethylene glycol (OEG).
The authors found that although rod-shape nanoparticles are taken
up in greater numbers than hollow gold spheres, they are equally
efficient in promoting cell death when laser hyperthermia is
employed. Being able to promote the same effect but with
distinguishable lower doses of hollow particles is critical in
considering these particles for biomedical applications.
Dorota Bartczak, Otto L. Muskens, Simone Nitti, Tilman Sanchez-Elsner,
Timothy M. Millar and Antonios Kanaras.b. Interactions of Human
Endothelial Cells with Gold Nanoparticles of Different Morphologies.
Small Journal, 18 November 2011, DOI: 10.1002/smll.201101422 .