From an article at

A senior fellow at the Faculty of Chemistry, MSU, Vladimir Bochenkov, together with his colleagues from Denmark, have established the mechanism of interaction of silver nanoparticles with the cells of the immune system. The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.

“Currently, a large number of products contain silver nanoparticles—antibacterial drugs, toothpaste, polishes, paints, filters, packaging, medical and textile items. The functioning of these products lies in the capacity of silver to dissolve under oxidation and form ions Ag+ with germicidal properties. At the same time, there are in vitro research data showing silver nanoparticles’ toxicity for various organs, including the liver, brain and lungs. In this regard, it is essential to study the processes occurring with silver nanoparticles in biological environments, and the factors affecting their toxicity,” says Vladimir Bochenkov.

The study is devoted to the protein corona—a layer of adsorbed protein molecules that is formed on the surface of the silver nanoparticles during their contact with the biological environment, for example, in blood. This protein corona masks nanoparticles and largely determines their fate, including the speed of the elimination from the body, the ability to penetrate to a particular cell type, the distribution between the organs, etc.

According to the latest research, the protein corona consists of two layers: a rigid hard corona consisting of protein molecules tightly bound with silver nanoparticles; and a soft corona, consisting of weakly bound protein molecules in a dynamic equilibrium with the solution. Until now, the soft corona has been studied very little because of experimental difficulties—the weakly bound nanoparticles that were separated from the protein solution easily desorbed, leaving only the rigid corona on the nanoparticle surface.


Image Credit:   Vladimir Bochenkov

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