Corona Composition Can Affect the Mechanisms Cells Use to Internalize Nanoparticles

Francia, V., et al.  Corona Composition Can Affect the Mechanisms Cells Use to Internalize Nanoparticles. 13(10), 11107-11121

Nanosized objects, such as nanoparticles and other drug carriers used in nanomedicine, once in contact with biological environments are modified by adsorption of biomolecules on their surface. The presence of this corona strongly affects the following interactions at cell and organism levels. It has been shown that corona proteins can be recognized by cell receptors. However, it is not known whether the composition of this acquired layer can also affect the mechanisms nanoparticles use to enter cells. This is of particular importance when considering that the same nanoparticles can form different coronas for instance in vitro when exposed to cells in different serum amounts or in vivo depending on the exposure or administration route. Thus, in this work, different coronas were formed on 50 nm silica by exposing them to different serum concentrations. The uptake efficiency in HeLa cells was compared, and the uptake mechanisms were characterized using transport inhibitors and RNA interference. The results showed that the nanoparticles were internalized by cells via different mechanisms when different coronas were formed, and only for one corona condition was uptake mediated by the LDL receptor. This suggested that coronas of different composition can be recognized differently by cell receptors, and this in turn leads to internalization via different mechanisms. Similar studies were performed using other cells, including A549 cells and primary HUVEC, and different nanoparticles, namely 100 nm liposomes and 200 nm silica. Overall, the results confirmed that the corona composition can affect the mechanisms of nanoparticle uptake by cells.