Thiol-antioxidants interfere with assessing silver nanoparticle cytotoxicity2

Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine(2020)

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Many studies have shown that silver nanoparticles (AgNP) induce oxidative stress, and it is commonly assumed that this is the main mechanism of AgNP cytotoxicity. Most of these studies rely on antioxidants to establish this cause-and-effect relationship; nevertheless, details on how these antioxidants interact with the AgNP are often overlooked. This work aimed to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the use of antioxidants with AgNP nanoparticles. Thus, we studied the molecular interaction between the thiol-antioxidants (N-acetyl-L-Cysteine, L-Cysteine, and glutathione) or non-thiol-antioxidants (Trolox) with chemically and biologically synthesized AgNP. Both antioxidants could mitigate ROS production in Huh-7 hepatocarcinoma cells, but only thiol-antioxidants could prevent the cytotoxic effect, directly binding to the AgNP leading to aggregation. Our findings show that data interpretation might not be straightforward when using thiol-antioxidants to study the interactions between metallic nanoparticles and cells. This artifact exemplifies potential pitfalls that could hinder the progress of nanotechnology and the understanding of the nanotoxicity mechanism.
Silver nanoparticles,In vitro,Oxidative stress,Thiol-antioxidants,Aggregation
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