January 2, 2019
Journal Article

All that is Silver is not Toxic: Silver Ion and Particle Kinetics Reveals the Role of Silver Ion Aging and Dosimetry on the Toxicity of Silver Nanoparticles

Matt Littke
Brian Thrall
Jordan Smith
Hadley Jolley
Dennis Thomas
Vamsi Kodali
Prabhakaran Munusamy
Matthew Gaffrey
Justin Teeguarden
BackgroundWhen suspended in cell culture medium, nano-objects composed of soluble metals such as silver can dissolve resulting in ion formation, altered particle properties (e.g. mass, morphology, etc.), and modulated cellular dose. Cultured cells are exposed not just to nanoparticles but to a complex, dynamic mixture of altered nanoparticles, free ions, and ion-ligand complexes. Here, three different cell types (RAW 264.7 macrophages and bone marrow derived macrophages from wild-type C57BL/6J mice and Scavenger Receptor A deficient (SR-A(-/-)) mice) were exposed to 20 and 110 nm silver nanoparticles, and RAW 264.7 cells were exposed to freshly mixed silver ions, aged silver ions (ions incubated in cell culture medium), and ions formed from nanoparticle dissolution. The In Vitro Sedimentation, Diffusion, Dissolution, and Dosimetry Model (ISD3) was used to predict dose metrics for each exposure scenario. Results Silver nanoparticles, freshly mixed ions, and ions from nanoparticle dissolution were toxic, while aged ions were not toxic. Macrophages from SR-A(-/-) mice did not take up 20 nm silver nanoparticles as well as wild-types but demonstrated no differences in silver levels after exposure to 110 nm nanoparticles. Dose response modeling with ISD3 predicted dose metrics suggest that amount of ions in cells and area under the curve (AUC) of ion amount in cells are the most predictive of cell viability after nanoparticle and combined nanoparticle/dissolution-formed-ions exposures, respectively. Conclusions Results of this study suggest that the unbound silver cation is the ultimate toxicant, and ions formed extracellularly drive toxicity after exposure to nanoparticles. Applying computational modeling (ISD3) to better understand dose metrics for soluble nanoparticles allows for better interpretation of in vitro hazard assessments.

Revised: January 2, 2019 | Published: December 5, 2018

Smith J.N., D.G. Thomas, H.D. Jolley, V.K. Kodali, M.H. Littke, P. Munusamy, and D.R. Baer, et al. 2018. "All that is Silver is not Toxic: Silver Ion and Particle Kinetics Reveals the Role of Silver Ion Aging and Dosimetry on the Toxicity of Silver Nanoparticles." Particle and Fibre Toxicology 15. PNNL-SA-135829. doi:10.1186/s12989-018-0283-z