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Biomacromolecules. 2010 Mar 8;11(3):820-6. doi: 10.1021/bm9014446.

Cytocompatibility and uptake of halloysite clay nanotubes.

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National Nanotechnology Laboratory of CNR-INFM, Italian Institute of Technology Lecce Unit, University of Salento, ISUFI Lecce, 73100 Italy.


Halloysite is aluminosilicate clay with hollow tubular structure of 50 nm external diameter and 15 nm diameter lumen. Halloysite biocompatibility study is important for its potential applications in polymer composites, bone implants, controlled drug delivery, and for protective coating (e.g., anticorrosion or antimolding). Halloysite nanotubes were added to different cell cultures for toxicity tests. Its fluorescence functionalization by aminopropyltriethosilane (APTES) and with fluorescently labeled polyelectrolyte layers allowed following halloysite uptake by the cells with confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). Quantitative Trypan blue and MTT measurements performed with two neoplastic cell lines model systems as a function of the nanotubes concentration and incubation time indicate that halloysite exhibits a high level of biocompatibility and very low cytotoxicity, rendering it a good candidate for household materials and medicine. A combination of transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and scanning force microscopy (SFM) imaging techniques have been employed to elucidate the structure of halloysite nanotubes.

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