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Effect of Surface Charge on the Cellular Uptake and Cytotoxicity of Fluorescent Labeled Cellulose Nanocrystals

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posted on 27.10.2010, 00:00 by Khaled A. Mahmoud, Jimmy A. Mena, Keith B. Male, Sabahudin Hrapovic, Amine Kamen, John H.T. Luong
Probing of cellular uptake and cytotoxicity was conducted for two fluorescent cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs): CNC-fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) and newly synthesized CNC-rhodamine B isothiocyanate (RBITC). The positively charged CNC-RBITC was uptaken by human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK 293) and Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) cells without affecting the cell membrane integrity. The cell viability assay and cell-based impedance spectroscopy revealed no noticeably cytotoxic effect of the CNC-RBITC conjugate. However, no significant internalization of negatively charged CNC-FITC was observed at physiological pH. Indeed, the effector cells were surrounded by CNC-FITC, leading to eventual cell rupture. As the surface charge of CNC played an important role in cellular uptake and cytotoxicity, facile surface functionalization together with observed noncytotoxicity rendered modified CNC as a promising candidate for bioimaging and drug delivery systems.