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Surface functionalization of nanoparticles with polyethylene glycol: Effects on protein adsorption and cellular uptake

AuthorsPelaz, Beatriz; Pino González de la Higuera, Pablo del; Rivera-Fernández, Sara; Fuente, Jesús M. de la; Nienhaus, G. Ulrich; Parak, Wolfganag J.
KeywordsPolyethylene glycol
Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy
Human serum albumin
Polymer coating
Protein corona
Issue Date2015
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
CitationACS Nano 9(7): 6996-7008 (2015)
AbstractHere we have investigated the effect of enshrouding polymer-coated nanoparticles (NPs) with polyethylene glycol (PEG) on the adsorption of proteins and uptake by cultured cells. PEG was covalently linked to the polymer surface to the maximal grafting density achievable under our experimental conditions. Changes in the effective hydrodynamic radius of the NPs upon adsorption of human serum albumin (HSA) and fibrinogen (FIB) were measured in situ using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. For NPs without a PEG shell, a thickness increase of around 3 nm, corresponding to HSA monolayer adsorption, was measured at high HSA concentration. Only 50% of this value was found for NPs with PEGylated surfaces. While the size increase clearly reveals formation of a protein corona also for PEGylated NPs, fluorescence lifetime measurements and quenching experiments suggest that the adsorbed HSA molecules are buried within the PEG shell. For FIB adsorption onto PEGylated NPs, even less change in NP diameter was observed. In vitro uptake of the NPs by 3T3 fibroblasts was reduced to around 10% upon PEGylation with PEG chains of 10 kDa. Thus, even though the PEG coatings did not completely prevent protein adsorption, the PEGylated NPs still displayed a pronounced reduction of cellular uptake with respect to bare NPs, which is to be expected if the adsorbed proteins are not exposed on the NP surface.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1021/acsnano.5b01326
e-issn: 1936-086X
issn: 1936-0851
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