Journal: Analytical Chemistry
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Sensing silver in single cells
© KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty
Probing the properties of single cells can reveal the amount of metal particles they have absorbed.
Metal nanoparticles, typically particles less than 100 nanometres wide, can make their way into human cells with potentially harmful effects. Measuring the concentration of these nanoparticles inside single cells remains a challenge. A team including researchers from the University of South Australia used mass cytometry — a technique for simultaneously measuring many properties of individual cells — to ascertain the silver content inside human immune cells. The cells all absorbed different quantities of silver, revealing the importance of single cell analysis when studying how cells and nanoparticles interact.
This technique could reveal which nanotechnologies pose a risk to humans, and guide research into which nanoparticles could be used in medicine.
- Analytical Chemistry 89, 8228-8232 (2017). doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b01006