by Keyword: Toxicity

Perxés Perich M, Palma-Florez S, Solé C, Goberna-Ferrón S, Samitier J, Gómez-Romero P, Mir M, Lagunas A, (2023). Polyoxometalate-Decorated Gold Nanoparticles Inhibit β-Amyloid Aggregation and Cross the Blood-Brain Barrier in a µphysiological Model Nanomaterials 13, 2697

Alzheimer's disease is characterized by a combination of several neuropathological hallmarks, such as extracellular aggregates of beta amyloid (Aβ). Numerous alternatives have been studied for inhibiting Aβ aggregation but, at this time, there are no effective treatments available. Here, we developed the tri-component nanohybrid system AuNPs@POM@PEG based on gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) covered with polyoxometalates (POMs) and polyethylene glycol (PEG). In this work, AuNPs@POM@PEG demonstrated the inhibition of the formation of amyloid fibrils, showing a 75% decrease in Aβ aggregation in vitro. As it is a potential candidate for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, we evaluated the cytotoxicity of AuNPs@POM@PEG and its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). We achieved a stable nanosystem that is non-cytotoxic below 2.5 nM to human neurovascular cells. The brain permeability of AuNPs@POM@PEG was analyzed in an in vitro microphysiological model of the BBB (BBB-on-a-chip), containing 3D human neurovascular cell co-cultures and microfluidics. The results show that AuNPs@POM@PEG was able to cross the brain endothelial barrier in the chip and demonstrated that POM does not affect the barrier integrity, giving the green light to further studies into this system as a nanotherapeutic.

JTD Keywords: beta-amyloid, blood-brain barrier organ-on-a-chip, cellular uptake, citrate, cytotoxicity, electrocatalytic reduction, gold nanoparticles, hypothesis, nanorods, polyoxometalates, size, stability, surface, Alzheimers-disease, Blood–brain barrier organ-on-a-chip, Gold nanoparticles, Nanovehicle, Polyoxometalates, Β-amyloid

Mingot J, Benejam N, Víllora G, Alemán C, Armelin E, Lanzalaco S, (2023). Multimodal Biomedical Implant with Plasmonic and Simulated Body Temperature Responses Macromolecular Bioscience 23, e2300118

This work presents a novel nanoparticle-based thermosensor implant able to reveal the precise temperature variations along the polymer filaments, as it contracts and expands due to changes in the macroscale local temperature. The multimodal device is able to trace the position and the temperature of a polypropylene mesh, employed in abdominal hernia repair, by combining plasmon resonance and Raman spectroscopy with hydrogel responsive system. The novelty relies on the attachment of the biocompatible nanoparticles, based on gold stabilized by a chitosan-shell, already charged with the Raman reporter (RaR) molecules, to the robust prosthesis, without the need of chemical linkers. The SERS enhanced effect observed is potentiated by the presence of a quite thick layer of the copolymer (poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-co-poly(acrylamide)) hydrogel. At temperatures above the LCST of PNIPAAm-co-PAAm, the water molecules are expulsed and the hydrogel layer contracts, leaving the RaR molecules more accessible to the Raman source. In vitro studies with fibroblast cells reveal that the functionalized surgical mesh is biocompatible and no toxic substances are leached in the medium. The mesh sensor opens new frontiers to semi-invasive diagnosis and infection prevention in hernia repair by using SERS spectroscopy. It also offers new possibilities to the functionalization of other healthcare products.© 2023 Wiley-VCH GmbH.

JTD Keywords: adhesion, blends, chitosan, gold nanoparticles, poly(n-isopropylacrylamide), polypropylene mesh, polypropylene meshes, repair, scattering, silver, surgical implants, thermosensitive hydrogels, toxicity, Chitosan, Gold nanoparticles, Polypropylene meshes, Surgical implants, Thermosensitive hydrogels

Palma-Florez S, López-Canosa A, Moralez-Zavala F, Castaño O, Kogan MJ, Samitier J, Lagunas A, Mir M, (2023). BBB-on-a-chip with integrated micro-TEER for permeability evaluation of multi-functionalized gold nanorods against Alzheimer's disease Journal Of Nanobiotechnology 21, 115

The lack of predictive models that mimic the blood-brain barrier (BBB) hinders the development of effective drugs for neurodegenerative diseases. Animal models behave differently from humans, are expensive and have ethical constraints. Organ-on-a-chip (OoC) platforms offer several advantages to resembling physiological and pathological conditions in a versatile, reproducible, and animal-free manner. In addition, OoC give us the possibility to incorporate sensors to determine cell culture features such as trans-endothelial electrical resistance (TEER). Here, we developed a BBB-on-a-chip (BBB-oC) platform with a TEER measurement system in close distance to the barrier used for the first time for the evaluation of the permeability performance of targeted gold nanorods for theranostics of Alzheimer's disease. GNR-PEG-Ang2/D1 is a therapeutic nanosystem previously developed by us consisting of gold nanorods (GNR) functionalized with polyethylene glycol (PEG), angiopep-2 peptide (Ang2) to overcome the BBB and the D1 peptide as beta amyloid fibrillation inhibitor, finally obtaining GNR-PEG-Ang2/D1 which showed to be useful for disaggregation of the amyloid in in vitro and in vivo models. In this work, we evaluated its cytotoxicity, permeability, and some indications of its impact on the brain endothelium by employing an animal-free device based on neurovascular human cells.In this work, we fabricated a BBB-oC with human astrocytes, pericytes and endothelial cells and a TEER measuring system (TEER-BBB-oC) integrated at a micrometric distance of the endothelial barrier. The characterization displayed a neurovascular network and the expression of tight junctions in the endothelium. We produced GNR-PEG-Ang2/D1 and determined its non-cytotoxic range (0.05-0.4 nM) for plated cells included in the BBB-oC and confirmed its harmless effect at the highest concentration (0.4 nM) in the microfluidic device. The permeability assays revealed that GNR-PEG-Ang2/D1 cross the BBB and this entry is facilitated by Ang2 peptide. Parallel to the permeability analysis of GNR-PEG-Ang2/D1, an interesting behavior of the TJs expression was observed after its administration probably related to the ligands on the nanoparticle surface.BBB-oC with a novel TEER integrated setup which allow a correct read-out and cell imaging monitoring was proven as a functional and throughput platform to evaluate the brain permeability performance of nanotherapeutics in a physiological environment with human cells, putting forward a viable alternative to animal experimentation.© 2023. The Author(s).

JTD Keywords: alzheimer disease (ad), cell-culture, cytotoxicity, endothelial-cells, gold nanoparticles, microfluidic platform, model, organ-on-a-chip (ooc), peptide, tight junction, trans-endothelial electrical resistance (teer), transport, Alzheimer disease (ad), Blood-brain barrier (bbb), Blood-brain-barrier, Blood–brain barrier (bbb), Gold nanoparticles, Organ-on-a-chip (ooc), Trans-endothelial electrical resistance (teer)

Mestre, R, Fuentes, J, Lefaix, L, Wang, JJ, Guix, M, Murillo, G, Bashir, R, Sanchez, S, (2023). Improved Performance of Biohybrid Muscle-Based Bio-Bots Doped with Piezoelectric Boron Nitride Nanotubes Advanced Materials Technologies 8, 2200505

Biohybrid robots, or bio-bots, integrate living and synthetic materials following a synergistic strategy to acquire some of the unique properties of biological organisms, like adaptability or bio-sensing, which are difficult to obtain exclusively using artificial materials. Skeletal muscle is one of the preferred candidates to power bio-bots, enabling a wide variety of movements from walking to swimming. Conductive nanocomposites, like gold nanoparticles or graphene, can provide benefits to muscle cells by improving the scaffolds' mechanical and conductive properties. Here, boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs), with piezoelectric properties, are integrated in muscle-based bio-bots and an improvement in their force output and motion speed is demonstrated. A full characterization of the BNNTs is provided, and their piezoelectric behavior with piezometer and dynamometer measurements is confirmed. It is hypothesized that the improved performance is a result of an electric field generated by the nanocomposites due to stresses produced by the cells during differentiation. This hypothesis is backed with finite element simulations supporting that this stress can generate a non-zero electric field within the matrix. With this work, it is shown that the integration of nanocomposite into muscle-based bio-bots can improve their performance, paving the way toward stronger and faster bio-hybrid robots.

JTD Keywords: Bio-bots, Biohybrid robots, Biomaterials, Boron nitride nanotubes, Cells, Cytotoxicity, Differentiation, Myoblasts, Skeletal muscle tissue, Skeletal-muscle, Stimulation

Martinez A, Hériché JK, Calvo M, Tischer C, Otxoa-de-Amezaga A, Pedragosa J, Bosch A, Planas AM, Petegnief V, (2023). Characterization of microglia behaviour in healthy and pathological conditions with image analysis tools Open Biology 13, 220200

Microglia are very sensitive to changes in the environment and respond through morphological, functional and metabolic adaptations. To depict the modifications microglia undergo under healthy and pathological conditions, we developed free access image analysis scripts to quantify microglia morphologies and phagocytosis. Neuron-glia cultures, in which microglia express the reporter tdTomato, were exposed to excitotoxicity or excitotoxicity + inflammation and analysed 8 h later. Neuronal death was assessed by SYTOX staining of nucleus debris and phagocytosis was measured through the engulfment of SYTOX+ particles in microglia. We identified seven morphologies: round, hypertrophic, fried egg, bipolar and three 'inflamed' morphologies. We generated a classifier able to separate them and assign one of the seven classes to each microglia in sample images. In control cultures, round and hypertrophic morphologies were predominant. Excitotoxicity had a limited effect on the composition of the populations. By contrast, excitotoxicity + inflammation promoted an enrichment in inflamed morphologies and increased the percentage of phagocytosing microglia. Our data suggest that inflammation is critical to promote phenotypical changes in microglia. We also validated our tools for the segmentation of microglia in brain slices and performed morphometry with the obtained mask. Our method is versatile and useful to correlate microglia sub-populations and behaviour with environmental changes.

JTD Keywords: classification, identification, image analysis, injury, morphometry, neuroinflammation, neurotoxicity, phagocytosis, Classification, Image analysis, Microglia, Morphometry, Neuroinflammation, Nitric-oxide, Phagocytosis

Bonany M, Pérez-Berná AJ, Dučić T, Pereiro E, Martin-Gómez H, Mas-Moruno C, van Rijt S, Zhao Z, Espanol M, Ginebra MP, (2022). Hydroxyapatite nanoparticles-cell interaction: New approaches to disclose the fate of membrane-bound and internalised nanoparticles Biomaterials Advances 142, 213148

Hydroxyapatite nanoparticles are popular tools in bone regeneration, but they have also been used for gene delivery and as anticancer drugs. Understanding their mechanism of action, particularly for the latter application, is crucial to predict their toxicity. To this end, we aimed to elucidate the importance of nanoparticle membrane interactions in the cytotoxicity of MG-63 cells using two different types of nanoparticles. In addition, conventional techniques for studying nanoparticle internalisation were evaluated and compared with newer and less exploited approaches. Hydroxyapatite and magnesium-doped hydroxyapatite nanoparticles were used as suspensions or compacted as specular discs. Comparison between cells seeded on the discs and those supplemented with the nanoparticles allowed direct interaction of the cell membrane with the material to be ruled out as the main mechanism of toxicity. In addition, standard techniques such as flow cytometry were inconclusive when used to assess nanoparticles toxicity. Interestingly, the use of intracellular calcium fluorescent probes revealed the presence of a high number of calcium-rich vesicles after nanoparticle supplementation in cell culture. These structures could not be detected by transmission electron microscopy due to their liquid content. However, by using cryo-soft X-ray imaging, which was used to visualise the cellular ultrastructure without further treatment other than vitrification and to quantify the linear absorption coefficient of each organelle, it was possible to identify them as multivesicular bodies, potentially acting as calcium stores. In the study, an advanced state of degradation of the hydroxyapatite and magnesium-doped hydroxyapatite nanoparticles within MG-63 cells was observed. Overall, we demonstrate that the combination of fluorescent calcium probes together with cryo-SXT is an excellent approach to investigate intracellular calcium, especially when found in its soluble form.Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

JTD Keywords: adsorption, cryo-soft x-ray tomography, cytotoxicity, expression, flow cytometry, internalisation, intracellular calcium, magnesium, nano, nanomaterials, nanoparticles, proliferation, protein corona, ultrastructure, Calcium-phosphate nanoparticles, Cryo-soft x-ray tomography, Flow cytometry, Hydroxyapatite, Internalisation, Intracellular calcium, Nanoparticles

Marte L, Boronat S, Barrios R, Barcons-Simon A, Bolognesi B, Cabrera M, Ayté J, Hidalgo E, (2022). Expression of Huntingtin and TDP-43 Derivatives in Fission Yeast Can Cause Both Beneficial and Toxic Effects International Journal Of Molecular Sciences 23, 3950

Many neurodegenerative disorders display protein aggregation as a hallmark, Huntingtin and TDP-43 aggregates being characteristic of Huntington disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, respectively. However, whether these aggregates cause the diseases, are secondary by-products, or even have protective effects, is a matter of debate. Mutations in both human proteins can modulate the structure, number and type of aggregates, as well as their toxicity. To study the role of protein aggregates in cellular fitness, we have expressed in a highly tractable unicellular model different variants of Huntingtin and TDP-43. They each display specific patterns of aggregation and toxicity, even though in both cases proteins have to be very highly expressed to affect cell fitness. The aggregation properties of Huntingtin, but not of TDP-43, are affected by chaperones such as Hsp104 and the Hsp40 couple Mas5, suggesting that the TDP-43, but not Huntingtin, derivatives have intrinsic aggregation propensity. Importantly, expression of the aggregating form of Huntingtin causes a significant extension of fission yeast lifespan, probably as a consequence of kidnapping chaperones required for maintaining stress responses off. Our study demonstrates that in general these prion-like proteins do not cause toxicity under normal conditions, and in fact they can protect cells through indirect mechanisms which up-regulate cellular defense pathways. © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

JTD Keywords: aggregation, antioxidant, degradation, features, fission yeast, gene, huntingtin, neurodegenerative diseases, pap1, polyglutamine toxicity, protein aggregation, proteins, stress, tdp-43, Amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis, Chaperone, Chemistry, Dna binding protein, Dna-binding proteins, Fission yeast, Genetics, Human, Humans, Huntingtin, Metabolism, Molecular chaperones, Neurodegenerative diseases, Prion, Prions, Protein aggregate, Protein aggregates, Protein aggregation, Schizosaccharomyces, Tdp-43

Kadkhodaie-Elyaderani A, de Lama-Odría MC, Rivas M, Martínez-Rovira I, Yousef I, Puiggalí J, Del Valle LJ, (2022). Medicated Scaffolds Prepared with Hydroxyapatite/Streptomycin Nanoparticles Encapsulated into Polylactide Microfibers International Journal Of Molecular Sciences 23,

The preparation, characterization, and controlled release of hydroxyapatite (HAp) nanopar-ticles loaded with streptomycin (STR) was studied. These nanoparticles are highly appropriate for the treatment of bacterial infections and are also promising for the treatment of cancer cells. The analyses involved scanning electron microscopy, dynamic light scattering (DLS) and Z-potential measurements, as well as infrared spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction. Both amorphous (ACP) and crystalline (cHAp) hydroxyapatite nanoparticles were considered since they differ in their release behavior (faster and slower for amorphous and crystalline particles, respectively). The encapsulated nanoparticles were finally incorporated into biodegradable and biocompatible polylactide (PLA) scaf-folds. The STR load was carried out following different pathways during the synthesis/precipitation of the nanoparticles (i.e., nucleation steps) and also by simple adsorption once the nanoparticles were formed. The loaded nanoparticles were biocompatible according to the study of the cytotoxicity of extracts using different cell lines. FTIR microspectroscopy was also employed to evaluate the cytotoxic effect on cancer cell lines of nanoparticles internalized by endocytosis. The results were promising when amorphous nanoparticles were employed. The nanoparticles loaded with STR increased their size and changed their superficial negative charge to positive. The nanoparticles’ crystallinity decreased, with the consequence that their crystal sizes reduced, when STR was incorporated into their structure. STR maintained its antibacterial activity, although it was reduced during the adsorption into the nanoparticles formed. The STR release was faster from the amorphous ACP nanoparticles and slower from the crystalline cHAp nanoparticles. However, in both cases, the STR release was slower when incorporated in calcium and phosphate during the synthesis. The biocompatibility of these nanoparticles was assayed by two approximations. When extracts from the nanoparticles were evaluated in cultures of cell lines, no cytotoxic damage was observed at concen-trations of less than 10 mg/mL. This demonstrated their biocompatibility. Another experiment using FTIR microspectroscopy evaluated the cytotoxic effect of nanoparticles internalized by endocytosis in cancer cells. The results demonstrated slight damage to the biomacromolecules when the cells were treated with ACP nanoparticles. Both ACP and cHAp nanoparticles were efficiently encapsulated in PLA electrospun matrices, providing functionality and bioactive properties. © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

JTD Keywords: antibiotics, antimicrobial activity, behavior, cytotoxicity, delivery, drug, drug delivery, hydroxyapatite nanoparticles, in-vitro, mechanisms, mitochondria, polylactide, release, streptomycin, Antimicrobial activity, Cancer stem-cells, Cytotoxicity, Drug delivery, Hydroxyapatite nanoparticles, Polylactide, Streptomycin

Solorzano, A, Eichmann, J, Fernandez, L, Ziems, B, Jimenez-Soto, JM, Marco, S, Fonollosa, J, (2022). Early fire detection based on gas sensor arrays: Multivariate calibration and validation Sensors And Actuators B-Chemical 352,

Smoldering fires are characterized by the production of early gas emissions that can include high levels of CO and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) due to pyrolysis or thermal degradation. Nowadays, standalone CO sensors, smoke detectors, or a combination of these, are standard components for fire alarm systems. While gas sensor arrays together with pattern recognition techniques are a valuable alternative for early fire detection, in practice they have certain drawbacks-they can detect early gas emissions, but can show low immunity to nuisances, and sensor time drift can render calibration models obsolete. In this work, we explore the performance of a gas sensor array for detecting smoldering and plastic fires while ensuring the rejection of a set of nuisances. We conducted variety of fire and nuisance experiments in a validated standard fire room (240 m(3)). Using PLS-DA and SVM, we evaluate the performance of different multivariate calibration models for this dataset. We show that calibration models remain predictive after several months, but perfect performance is not achieved. For example, 4 months after calibration, a PLS-DA model provides 100% specificity and 85% sensitivity since the system has difficulties in detecting plastic fires, whose signatures are close to nuisance scenarios. Nevertheless, our results show that systems based on gas sensor arrays are able to provide faster fire alarm response than conventional smoke-based fire alarms. We also propose the use of small-scale fire experiments to increase the number of calibration conditions at a reduced cost. Our results show that this is an effective way to increase the performance of the model, even when evaluated on a standard fire room. Finally, the acquired datasets are made publicly available to the community (doi: 10.5281/zenodo.5643074).

JTD Keywords: Calibration, Chemical sensors, Co2, Early fire, Early fire detection, En-54, Fire alarm, Fire detection, Fire room, Fires, Gas detectors, Gas emissions, Gas sensors, Pattern recognition, Public dataset, Sensor arrays, Sensors array, Signatures, Smoke, Smoke detector, Smoke detectors, Standard fire, Standard fire room, Support vector machines, Temperature, Toxicity, Volatile organic compounds

Rubí-Sans G, Nyga A, Rebollo E, Pérez-Amodio S, Otero J, Navajas D, Mateos-Timoneda MA, Engel E, (2021). Development of Cell-Derived Matrices for Three-Dimensional in Vitro Cancer Cell Models Acs Applied Materials & Interfaces 13, 44108-44123

Most morphogenetic and pathological processes are driven by cells responding to the surrounding matrix, such as its composition, architecture, and mechanical properties. Despite increasing evidence for the role of extracellular matrix (ECM) in tissue and disease development, many in vitro substitutes still fail to effectively mimic the native microenvironment. We established a novel method to produce macroscale (>1 cm) mesenchymal cell-derived matrices (CDMs) aimed to mimic the fibrotic tumor microenvironment surrounding epithelial cancer cells. CDMs are produced by human adipose mesenchymal stem cells cultured in sacrificial 3D scaffold templates of fibronectin-coated poly-lactic acid microcarriers (MCs) in the presence of macromolecular crowders. We showed that decellularized CDMs closely mimic the fibrillar protein composition, architecture, and mechanical properties of human fibrotic ECM from cancer masses. CDMs had highly reproducible composition made of collagen types I and III and fibronectin ECM with tunable mechanical properties. Moreover, decellularized and MC-free CDMs were successfully repopulated with cancer cells throughout their 3D structure, and following chemotherapeutic treatment, cancer cells showed greater doxorubicin resistance compared to 3D culture in collagen hydrogels. Collectively, these results support the use of CDMs as a reproducible and tunable tool for developing 3D in vitro cancer models.

JTD Keywords: 3d cell-derived matrices, adipose mesenchymal stem cells, collagen matrix, colorectal adenocarcinoma, cytotoxicity assay, deposition, expansion, extracellular microenvironment, extracellular-matrix, fibronectin, growth, macromolecular crowders, microcarriers, scaffolds, tissue, 3d cell-derived matrices, Adipose mesenchymal stem cells, Cytotoxicity assay, Extracellular microenvironment, Macromolecular crowders, Mesenchymal stem-cells, Microcarriers

Rodríguez-Contreras A, Torres D, Rafik B, Ortiz-Hernandez M, Ginebra MP, Calero JA, Manero JM, Ruperez E, (2021). Bioactivity and antibacterial properties of calcium- and silver-doped coatings on 3D printed titanium scaffolds Surface & Coatings Technology 421

One of the major problems faced by metallic implants is the high probability of bacterial infections, with significant consequences for the patient. In this work, a thermochemical treatment is proposed to obtain silver-doped calcium titanate coatings on the Ti surface to improve the bioactivity of porous 3D-printed Ti structures and simultaneously provide them with antibacterial properties. A complete characterization of the new coating, the study of the ion release and the analysis of its cytotoxicity were carried out together with evaluation of the natural apatite forming in simulated body fluid (SBF). Moreover, the antibacterial properties of the coatings were assessed against Pseudomona aeruginosa and Escherichia coli as gram-negative and Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis as gram-positive bacterial strains. Ag ions were integrated into the Ca titanate layer and Ag nanoparticles were formed within the entire 3D Ti surface. Ca and Ag ions were released from both porous and solid samples into the Hanks' solution for 48 h. The treated surfaces showed no cytotoxicity and an apatite layer precipitated on the entire porous surface when the samples were immersed in SBF. The release of Ag from the surface had a strong antibacterial effect and prevented bacterial adhesion and proliferation on the surface. Moreover, the nanostructured topography of the coating resulted also in a reduction of bacterial adhesion and proliferation, even in absence of Ag. In conclusion, the cost-effective approach here reported provided protection against the most predominant bacterial colonizers to the Ti porous implants, while maintaining their bioactivity.

JTD Keywords: 3d-printing, alkaline, antibacterial activity, arthroplasty, bacterial adhesion, biomaterials, generation, ions, nanoparticles, osseointegration, silver, surface-layer, titanium implants, toxicity, 3d-printing, Antibacterial activity, Biomaterials, Porous structures, Silver, Ti metal, Titanium implants

Moya-Andérico L, Vukomanovic M, Cendra MdM, Segura-Feliu M, Gil V, del Río JA, Torrents E, (2021). Utility of Galleria mellonella larvae for evaluating nanoparticle toxicology Chemosphere 266, 129235

© 2020 Elsevier Ltd The use of nanoparticles in consumer products is currently on the rise, so it is important to have reliable methods to predict any associated toxicity effects. Traditional in vitro assays fail to mimic true physiological responses of living organisms against nanoparticles whereas murine in vivo models are costly and ethically controversial. For these reasons, this study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of Galleria mellonella as an alternative, non-rodent in vivo model for examining nanoparticle toxicity. Silver, selenium, and functionalized gold nanoparticles were synthesized, and their toxicity was assessed in G. mellonella larvae. The degree of acute toxicity effects caused by each type of NP was efficiently detected by an array of indicators within the larvae: LD50 calculation, hemocyte proliferation, NP distribution, behavioral changes, and histological alterations. G. mellonella larvae are proposed as a nanotoxicological model that can be used as a bridge between in vitro and in vivo murine assays in order to obtain better predictions of NP toxicity.

JTD Keywords: cellular uptake, cytotoxicity, galleria mellonella, gold nanoparticles, hemocytes, nanoparticles, nanotoxicity, non-rodent in vivo model, non-rodent in vivo model, oxidative stress, selenium-compounds, silica nanoparticles, silver nanoparticles, toxicity, toxicity screening, vitro, Galleria mellonella, Hemocytes, In-vivo model, Nanoparticles, Nanotoxicity, Non-rodent in vivo model, Toxicity screening

Qamar B, Solomon M, Marin A, Fuerst TR, Andrianov AK, Muro S, (2021). Intracellular delivery of active proteins by polyphosphazene polymers Pharmaceutics 13,

© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Achieving intracellular delivery of protein therapeutics within cells remains a significant challenge. Although custom formulations are available for some protein therapeutics, the development of non‐toxic delivery systems that can incorporate a variety of active protein cargo and maintain their stability, is a topic of great relevance. This study utilized ionic polyphosphazenes (PZ) that can assemble into supramolecular complexes through non‐covalent interactions with different types of protein cargo. We tested a PEGylated graft copolymer (PZ‐PEG) and a pyrrolidone containing linear derivative (PZ‐PYR) for their ability to intracellularly deliver FITC‐avidin, a model protein. In endothelial cells, PZ‐PYR/protein exhibited both faster internalization and higher uptake levels than PZ‐PEG/protein, while in cancer cells both polymers achieved similar uptake levels over time, although the internalization rate was slower for PZ‐PYR/protein. Uptake was mediated by endocytosis through multiple mechanisms, PZ‐PEG/avidin colocalized more profusely with endo-lysosomes, and PZ‐PYR/avidin achieved greater cytosolic delivery. Consequently, a PZ‐PYR-delivered anti‐F‐actin antibody was able to bind to cytosolic actin filaments without needing cell permeabilization. Similarly, a cell‐impermeable Bax‐BH3 peptide known to induce apoptosis, decreased cell viability when complexed with PZ‐PYR, demonstrating endo‐lysosomal escape. These biodegradable PZs were non‐toxic to cells and represent a promising platform for drug delivery of protein therapeutics.

JTD Keywords: cytosolic delivery, cytotoxicity, delivery of apoptotic peptides, endosomal escape, intracellular delivery of antibody, intracellular protein delivery, Cytosolic delivery, Cytotoxicity, Delivery of apoptotic peptides, Endosomal escape, Intracellular delivery of antibody, Intracellular protein delivery, Polyphosphazene polymers

De Matteis, Valeria, Rizzello, Loris, Ingrosso, Chiara, Liatsi-Douvitsa, Eva, De Giorgi, Maria Luisa, De Matteis, Giovanni, Rinaldi, Rosaria, (2019). Cultivar-dependent anticancer and antibacterial properties of silver nanoparticles synthesized using leaves of different Olea Europaea trees Nanomaterials 9, (11), 1544

The green synthesis of nanoparticles (NPs) is currently under worldwide investigation as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional routes (NPs): the absence of toxic solvents and catalysts make it suitable in the design of promising nanomaterials for nanomedicine applications. In this work, we used the extracts collected from leaves of two cultivars (Leccino and Carolea) belonging to the species Olea Europaea, to synthesize silver NPs (AgNPs) in different pH conditions and low temperature. NPs underwent full morphological characterization with the aim to define a suitable protocol to obtain a monodispersed population of AgNPs. Afterwards, to validate the reproducibility of the mentioned synthetic procedure, we moved on to another Mediterranean plant, the Laurus Nobilis. Interestingly, the NPs obtained using the two olive cultivars produced NPs with different shape and size, strictly depending on the cultivar selected and pH. Furthermore, the potential ability to inhibit the growth of two woman cancer cells (breast adenocarcinoma cells, MCF-7 and human cervical epithelioid carcinoma, HeLa) were assessed for these AgNPs, as well as their capability to mitigate the bacteria concentration in samples of contaminated well water. Our results showed that toxicity was stronger when MCF-7 and Hela cells were exposed to AgNPs derived from Carolea obtained at pH 7 presenting irregular shape; on the other hand, greater antibacterial effect was revealed using AgNPs obtained at pH 8 (smaller and monodispersed) on well water, enriched with bacteria and coliforms.

JTD Keywords: Green synthesis, Silver nanoparticles, Olea Europaea, Leccino, Carolea, Cytotoxicity, Genotoxicity, Antibacterial activity

Ikonomov, O. C., Altankov, G., Sbrissa, D., Shisheva, A., (2018). PIKfyve inhibitor cytotoxicity requires AKT suppression and excessive cytoplasmic vacuolation Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 356, 151-158

PIKfyve phosphoinositide kinase produces PtdIns(3,5)P2 and PtdIns5P and governs a myriad of cellular processes including cytoskeleton rearrangements and cell proliferation. The latter entails rigorous investigation since the cytotoxicity of PIKfyve inhibition is a potential therapeutic modality for cancer. Here we report the effects of two PIKfyve-specific inhibitors on the attachment/spreading and viability of mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) and C2C12 myoblasts. Importantly, 18-h treatment of adherent cells with YM201636 (800 nM) and apilimod (20 nM) in serum-containing culture media did not affect cell viability despite the presence of multiple cytoplasmic vacuoles, a hallmark of PIKfyve inhibition. Strikingly, at the same dose and duration the inhibitors caused excessive cytoplasmic vacuolation, initial suppression of cell attachment/spreading and subsequent marked detachment/death in serum-deprived cells. The remaining adherent cells under serum-deprived conditions had smaller surface area, lacked vinculin/actin-positive focal adhesions and displayed vacuoles occupying the entire cytoplasm. Serum or growth factors protected against PIKfyve inhibitor cytotoxicity. This protection required Akt activation evidenced by the abrogated beneficial effect of serum upon treatment with the clinically-relevant Akt inhibitor MK-2206. Moreover, Akt inhibition triggered cell detachment/death even in serum-fed adherent MEFs treated with apilimod. Intriguingly, BafilomycinA1 (H+-vacuolar ATPase inhibitor), which prevents the cytoplasmic vacuolation under PIKfyve perturbations, rescued all defects in attaching/spreading as well as in adherent cells under serum-starved or serum-fed conditions, respectively. Together, the results indicate that the cytotoxicity of PIKfyve inhibitors in MEFs and C2C12 myoblasts requires Akt suppression and excessive cytoplasmic vacuolation.

JTD Keywords: AKT, Cytotoxicity, MK-2206, PIKfyve, Ppilimod, YM201636

Vilches, S., Vergara, C., Nicolás, O., Mata, A., Del Río, J. A., Gavín, R., (2016). Domain-specific activation of death-associated intracellular signalling cascades by the cellular prion protein in neuroblastoma cells Molecular Neurobiology 53, (7), 4438–4448

The biological functions of the cellular prion protein remain poorly understood. In fact, numerous studies have aimed to determine specific functions for the different protein domains. Studies of cellular prion protein (PrPC) domains through in vivo expression of molecules carrying internal deletions in a mouse Prnp null background have provided helpful data on the implication of the protein in signalling cascades in affected neurons. Nevertheless, understanding of the mechanisms underlying the neurotoxicity induced by these PrPC deleted forms is far from complete. To better define the neurotoxic or neuroprotective potential of PrPC N-terminal domains, and to overcome the heterogeneity of results due to the lack of a standardized model, we used neuroblastoma cells to analyse the effects of overexpressing PrPC deleted forms. Results indicate that PrPC N-terminal deleted forms were properly processed through the secretory pathway. However, PrPΔF35 and PrPΔCD mutants led to death by different mechanisms sharing loss of alpha-cleavage and activation of caspase-3. Our data suggest that both gain-of-function and loss-of-function pathogenic mechanisms may be associated with N-terminal domains and may therefore contribute to neurotoxicity in prion disease. Dissecting the molecular response induced by PrPΔF35 may be the key to unravelling the physiological and pathological functions of the prion protein.

JTD Keywords: Cellular prion protein, Neurotoxicity, Truncated prion protein

Fernanda, Andrade, Pedro, Fonte, Ana, Costa, Cassilda Cunha, Reis, Rute, Nunes, Andreia, Almeida, Domingos, Ferreira, Mireia, Oliva, Bruno, Sarmento, (2016). Pharmacological and toxicological assessment of innovative self-assembled polymeric micelles as powders for insulin pulmonary delivery Nanomedicine 11, (17), 2305-2317

Aim: Explore the use of polymeric micelles in the development of powders intended for pulmonary delivery of biopharmaceuticals, using insulin as a model protein. Materials & methods: Formulations were assessed in vitro for aerosolization properties and in vivo for efficacy and safety using a streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat model. Results: Powders presented good aerosolization properties like fine particle fraction superior to 40% and a mass median aerodynamic diameter inferior of 6 μm. Endotracheally instilled powders have shown a faster onset of action than subcutaneous administration of insulin at a dose of 10 IU/kg, with pharmacological availabilities up to 32.5% of those achieved by subcutaneous route. Additionally, micelles improved the hypoglycemic effect of insulin. Bronchoalveolar lavage screening for toxicity markers (e.g., lactate dehydrogenase, cytokines) revealed no signs of lung inflammation and cytotoxicity 14 days postadministration. Conclusion: Developed powders showed promising safety and efficacy characteristics for the systemic delivery of insulin by pulmonary administration.

JTD Keywords: Fine particle fraction, Inhalation, Insulin, In vivo, Pharmacological availability, Polymeric micelles, Pulmonary toxicity

Andrade, F., Neves, J. D., Gener, P., Schwartz, S., Ferreira, D., Oliva, M., Sarmento, B., (2015). Biological assessment of self-assembled polymeric micelles for pulmonary administration of insulin Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine 11, (7), 1621-1631

Pulmonary delivery of drugs for both local and systemic action has gained new attention over the last decades. In this work, different amphiphilic polymers (Soluplus®, Pluronic® F68, Pluronic® F108 and Pluronic® F127) were used to produce lyophilized formulations for inhalation of insulin. Development of stimuli-responsive, namely glucose-sensitive, formulations was also attempted with the addition of phenylboronic acid (PBA). Despite influencing the in vitro release of insulin from micelles, PBA did not confer glucose-sensitive properties to formulations. Lyophilized powders with aerodynamic diameter (<. 6. μm) compatible with good deposition in the lungs did not present significant in vitro toxicity for respiratory cell lines. Additionally, some formulations, in particular Pluronic® F127-based formulations, enhanced the permeation of insulin through pulmonary epithelial models and underwent minimal internalization by macrophages in vitro. Overall, formulations based on polymeric micelles presenting promising characteristics were developed for the delivery of insulin by inhalation. From the Clinical Editor: The ability to deliver other systemic drugs via inhalation has received renewed interests in the clinical setting. This is especially true for drugs which usually require injections for delivery, like insulin. In this article, the authors investigated their previously developed amphiphilic polymers for inhalation of insulin in an in vitro model. The results should provide basis for future in vivo studies.

JTD Keywords: Cytotoxicity, Inhalation, Permeability, Phagocytosis, Polymeric micelles, Protein delivery

Llorens, F., Del Rio, J. A., (2012). Unraveling the neuroprotective mechanisms of PrPC in excitotoxicity Prion , 6, (3), 245-251

Knowledge of the natural roles of cellular prion protein (PrPC) is essential to an understanding of the molecular basis of prion pathologies. This GPIanchored protein has been described in synaptic contacts, and loss of its synaptic function in complex systems may contribute to the synaptic loss and neuronal degeneration observed in prionopathy. In addition, Prnp knockout mice show enhanced susceptibility to several excitotoxic insults, GABAA receptor-mediated fast inhibition was weakened, LTP was modified and cellular stress increased. Although little is known about how PrPC exerts its function at the synapse or the downstream events leading to PrPCmediated neuroprotection against excitotoxic insults, PrPC has recently been reported to interact with two glutamate receptor subunits (NR2D and GluR6/7). In both cases the presence of PrPC blocks the neurotoxicity induced by NMDA and Kainate respectively. Furthermore, signals for seizure and neuronal cell death in response to Kainate in Prnp knockout mouse are associated with JNK3 activity, through enhancing the interaction of GluR6 with PSD-95. In combination with previous data, these results shed light on the molecular mechanisms behind the role of PrPC in excitotoxicity. Future experimental approaches are suggested and discussed.

JTD Keywords: Prion protein, Excitotoxicity, Neuroprotection, Glutamate receptors, Synapse, prionopathy