Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Nanotoxicology. 2010 Sep;4(3):319-30. doi: 10.3109/17435390.2010.483745.

Impact of silver nanoparticles on human cells: effect of particle size.

Author information

State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.


This work investigated the cytotoxicities of three silver nanoparticles (SNPs) SNP-5, SNP-20 and SNP-50 with different sizes ( approximately 5 nm, approximately 20 nm and approximately 50 nm) using four human cell models (A549, SGC-7901, HepG2 and MCF-7). Endpoints included cell morphology, cell viability, cellular membrane integrity, oxidative stress and cell cycle progression. Observable deleterious effects on the cell morphologies and membrane integrity were induced by SNP-5 and SNP-20. SNPs elevated the ROS levels in cells and arrested the cells at S phase. Apoptosis occurred for 4-9% of the exposed cells. All these cellular responses as well as EC50 values were found to be size-dependent for the tested SNPs. Ultrastructural observations confirmed the presence of SNPs inside cells. Elemental analysis of silver in cells by ICP-MS showed that smaller nanoparticles enter cells more easily than larger ones, which may be the cause of higher toxic effects. The findings may assist in the design of SNP applications and provide insights into their toxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Taylor & Francis
    Loading ...
    Support Center