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Mechanical characteristics of mesenchymal stem cells under impact of silica-based nanoparticles

Irina V Ogneva12*, Sergey V Buravkov3, Alexander N Shubenkov1 and Ludmila B Buravkova13

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Molecular and Cell Biomedicine, State Scientific Center of Russian Federation Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Khoroshevskoyoe shosse, 76a, Moscow 123007, Russia

2 I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Moscow 119991, Russia

3 Faculty of Fundamental Medicine, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow 119192, Russia

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:284  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-284

Published: 5 June 2014


Silica-based nanoparticles (NPs) pose great potential for medical and biological applications; however, their interactions with living cells have not been investigated in full. The objective of this study was to analyze the mechanical characteristics of mesenchymal stem cells when cultured in the presence of silica (Si) and silica-boron (SiB) nanoparticles. Cell stiffness was measured using atomic force microscopy; F-actin structure was evaluated using TRITC-phalloidin by confocal microscopy. The obtained data suggested that the cell stiffness increased within the following line: ‘Control’ - ‘Si’ - ‘SiB’ (either after 1-h cultivation or 24-h incubation). Moreover, the cell stiffness was found to be higher after 1-h cultivation as compared to 24-h cultivation. This result shows that there is a two-phase process of particle diffusion into cells and that the particles interact directly with the membrane and, further, with the submembranous cytoskeleton. Conversely, the intensity of phalloidin fluorescence dropped within the same line: Control - Si - SiB. It could be suggested that the effects of silica-based particles may result in structural reorganization of cortical cytoskeleton with subsequent stiffness increase and concomitant F-actin content decrease (for example, in recruitment of additional actin-binding proteins within membrane and regrouping of actin filaments).

Cell stiffness; Actin cytoskeleton; Cytotoxicity