Biocompatibility of gold nanoparticles and their endocytotic fate inside the cellular compartment: A microscopic overview

Ravi Shukla, Vipul Bansal, Minakshi Chaudhary, Atanu Basu, Ramesh R. Bhonde, Murali Sastry

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

1267 Citations (Scopus)


Macrophages are one of the principal immune effector cells that play essential roles as secretory, phagocytic, and antigen-presenting cells in the immune system. In this study, we address the issue of cytotoxicity and immunogenic effects of gold nanoparticles on RAW264.7 macrophage cells. The cytotoxicity of gold nanoparticles has been correlated with a detailed study of their endocytotic uptake using various microscopy tools such as atomic force microscopy (AFM), confocal-laser-scanning microscopy (CFLSM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Our findings suggest that Au(0) nanoparticles are not cytotoxic, reduce the production of reactive oxygen and nitrite species, and do not elicit secretion of proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL1-β, making them suitable candidates for nanomedicine. AFM measurements suggest that gold nanoparticles are internalized inside the cell via a mechanism involving pinocytosis, while CFLSM and TEM studies indicate their internalization in lysosomal bodies arranged in perinuclear fashion. Our studies thus underline the noncytotoxic, nonimmunogenic, and biocompatible properties of gold nanoparticles with the potential for application in nanoimmunology, nanomedicine, and nanobiotechnology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10644-10654
Number of pages11
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes

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