Effects of nanoparticles on the adhesion and cell viability on astrocytes

Catherine Au, Lysette Mutkus, Allison Dobson, Judy Riffle, Jennifer Lalli, Michael Aschner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


In recent years, both pharmaceutical companies and manufacturing industries have expressed heightened interest in the potential applications of magnetic nanoparticles for therapeutic and technological purposes. Specifically, pharmaceutical companies seek to employ magnetic nanoparticles as carriers to facilitate effective drug delivery, especially in areas of the brain. Manufacturing industries desire to use these nanoparticles as ferrofluids and in magnetic resonance imaging. However, data concerning the effects of magnetic nanoparticles on the nervous system is limited. This study tested the hypotheses that nanoparticles can (1) inhibit adherence of astrocytes to culture plates and (2) cause cytotoxicity or termination of growth, both end points representing surrogate markers of neurotoxicity. Using light microscopy, changes in plating patterns were determined by visual assessment. Cell counting 4 days after plating revealed a significant decrease in the number of viable astrocytes in nanoparticle treated groups (p<0.0001). To determine the cytotoxic effects of nanoparticles, astrocytes were allowed to adhere to culture plates and grow to maturity for 3 weeks before treatment. Membrane integrity and mitochondrial function were measured using colorimetric analysis lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and 3-[4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTS), respectively. Treatment with nanoparticles did not significantly alter astrocytic LDH release (p>0.05) in the control group (100%±1.56) vs the group receiving treatment (97.18%±2.03). However, a significant increase in MTS activity (p<0.05) between the control (100%±3.65) and treated groups (112.8%±3.23) was observed, suggesting astrocytic mitochondrial uncoupling by nanoparticles. These data suggest that nanoparticles impede the attachment of astrocytes to the substratum. However, once astrocytes attach to the substratum and grow to confluence, nanoparticles may cause mitochondrial stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-256
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Trace Element Research
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Astrocytes
  • Cell adhesion
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of nanoparticles on the adhesion and cell viability on astrocytes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this