Analyses of protein corona on bare and silica-coated gold nanorods against four mammalian cells

Minakshi Das, Dong Kee Yi, Seong Soo A. An*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of this study was to investigate the mechanisms responsible for the toxic effects of gold nanorods (AuNRs). Here, a comprehensive study was performed by examining the effects of bare (uncoated) AuNRs and AuNRs functionalized with silica (SiO2-AuNRs) against various mammalian cell lines, including cervical cancer cells, fibroblast cells, human umbilical vein endothelial cells, and neuroblastoma cells. The interactions between AuNRs and mammalian cells were investigated with cell viability and mortality assays. Dihydrorhodamine-123 assay was carried out for evaluating reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, along with mass spectroscopy analysis for determining the composition of the protein corona. Our results suggest that even the lowest concentrations of AuNRs (0.7 μg/mL) induced ROS production leading to cell mortality. On the other hand, cellular viability and ROS production were maintained even at a higher concentration of SiO2-coated AuNRs (12 μg/mL). The increased production of ROS by AuNRs seemed to cause the toxicity observed in all four mammalian cell types. The protein corona on the bare AuNRs did not appear to reduce ROS generation; however, different compositions of the protein corona on bare and SiO2-coated AuNRs may affect cellular behavior differently. Therefore, it was determined that SiO2-coated AuNRs would be more advantageous than bare AuNRs for cellular applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1521-1545
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Nanomedicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2015. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Cell toxicity
  • Gold nanorods
  • Mammalian cells
  • Oxidative stress
  • Protein corona
  • Silica coating


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