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Blood Purif. 2013;35(4):305-13. doi: 10.1159/000350613. Epub 2013 Jul 31.

In vitro clearance and hemocompatibility assessment of ultrathin nanoporous silicon membranes for hemodialysis applications using human whole blood.

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  • 1Department of Systems Design Engineering and Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ont., Canada.



Recent advances in nanotechnology have made it possible to mass-produce ultrathin silicon membranes with pore sizes in the range of nanometers. In this study, we investigate the possibility of employing ultrathin nanoporous silicon membranes with pore diameters of 5 and 20 nm for dialysis of human whole blood by performing in vitro clearance and hemocompatibility assessments.


A mini blood dialyzer is fabricated by mounting nanoporous silicon membranes on a Teflon structure. Clearance is calculated based on the concentration of sodium, chloride, ionized calcium, total CO2, glucose, creatinine and hematocrit measured before and after dialysis. Blood activation is assessed by flow cytometry.


Blood contact with the nanoporous membranes induces considerable leukocyte activation. Coating of the membranes with polyethylene glycol significantly improves hemocompatibility without blocking the nanopores.


Silicon nanoporous membranes are potential candidates for fabrication of miniaturized blood dialyzers. Their mechanical strength and hemocompatibility can be further improved.

Copyright © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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