J7-7424 project

University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Electrical Engineering

Slovenian Research Agency

Research projects (co)funded by the Slovenian Research Agency.


Member of  University of Ljubljana UL Faculty of Electrical Engineering
Code J7-7424
Project Evaluation of possible harmful effects of nanoparticles and underlying mechanisms – from physico-chemical and in vitro toxicity characterisation to innate immune system activation
Period 1.1.2016 – 31.12.2018
Range on year 1,63 FTE
Head Vladimir B. Bregar
Research activity Materials
Research Organisation link on SICRIS
Abstract Numerous nanomaterials are being developed and used both in industrial products as well as carriers for drug delivery. Since the last decade nanotoxicology has emerged as an interdisciplinary research field that analyses possible harmful effects of nanoparticles (NPs). Different types of NPs have been shown to induce stress and cell death with different mechanisms and with potentially lasting cytotoxic effects, however, in spite of many studies, there are still open questions of potential toxicity and especially immunotoxicity and immunogenicity is not adequately assessed for many NPs. Specifically commercially available (engineered) NPs are much less characterised. Also the mechanisms through which the immune response is activated by NPs are not fully understood.

The collaboration between leading Slovenian groups of different fields will enable us to connect the results into a comprehensive analysis of the interactions between NPs and the innate immune system: from thorough NP characterization, the composition of the protein corona, to the interactions between NPs and innate immune system cells and their consequences. This knowledge will enable us to assess the possible harmful effect of NP on the cells of the innate immune system and help us implement the ‘safer by design’ principle for design of new NPs.

Researchers link on SICRIS
The phases of the project and their realization In this project we focus on the in situ and in vitro assessment of possible harmful effects of NPs designed for biomedical applications and commercially available NPs. We specifically focus on toxic effects and potential activation of innate immunity. The project is divided in three work packages:

 WP1 Physico-chemical characterization of NPs in physiologically relevant media

Biomedical and industrial NPs were analysed using different techniques (TEM, SEM, DLS, FTIR, and microanalysis). We acquired important insights into physico-chemical characteristics of NPs used in WP 2 and WP 3.

WP2 Analysis of NPs corona and complement activation

We established the protocol for protein corona analysis, based on polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and already identified proteins forming protein corona of some biomedical and industrial NPs.

WP3 Determination of NPs effects on immune cells in vitro

We established the cell model system of human macrophages (THP-1 cell line), differentiation protocols and performed the preliminary toxicological and morphological analysis of macrophages exposed to different types of NPs for different time periods.

Citations for bibliographic records link on SICRIS