Nanogold morphologies with the same surface chemistry provoke a different innate immune response: An in-vitro and in-vivo study

Muhammad Usman, Yasra Sarwar, Rashda Abbasi, Hafiz Muhammad Ishaq, Maryam Iftikhar, Irshad Hussain, Ruken Esra Demirdogen, Ayesha Ihsan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Gold nanomaterials (GNMs) have unique optical properties with less antigenicity, and their physicochemical properties have strong relation with an immunological response at bio-interface including antigenicity. An interpretation of this correlation would significantly impact on the clinical and theranostic applications of GNMs. Herein, we studied the effect of GNMs morphology on the cytotoxicity (in-vitro), innate immune responses, hepatotoxicity, and nephrotoxicity (in-vivo studies) using gold nano-cups (GNCs), porous gold nanospheres (PGNSs) and solid gold nano particles (SGNPs) coated with the same ligand to ensure similar surface chemistry. The cytotoxicity was assessed via sulfo-rhodamine B (SRB) assay, and the cytotoxicity data showed that morphological features at nanoscale dimensions like surface roughness and hollowness etc. have a significant impact on cellular viability. The biochemical and histopathological study of liver and kidney tissues also showed that all GNMs did not show any toxicity even at high concentration (100 μL). The relative quantification of cytokine gene expression of TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-4, 1L-6, and 1L-17 (against each morphology) was checked after in-vivo activation in mice. Among the different nanogold morphologies, PVP stabilized GNCs (PVP-GNCs) showed the highest release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which might be due to their high surface energy and large surface area for exposure as compared to other nanogold morphologies studied. The pro-inflammatory cytokine release could be suppressed by coating with some anti-inflammatory polymer, i.e., inulin. The in-vitro results of pro-inflammatory (TNF-α, IL-1) cytokines also suggested that all GNMs may induce activation of macrophages and Th1 immune response. The in-vivo activation results showed a decrease in mRNA expression of the cytokines (TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-4, 1L-6 and 1L-17). Based on these findings, we proposed that the shape and morphology of GNMs control their immune response at nano-bio interface, and it must be considered while designing their role for different biomedical applications like immuno-stimulation and bio-imaging.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100419
StatePublished - Sep 2 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-09-14
Acknowledgements: We are thankful to the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (Grant# NRPU-7684) for providing funds for this work. Authors are thankful to Delaver Anjum, Imaging and Characterization Lab King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia for HRTEM characterization.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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