(393bc) Electronic Platform to Assess Toxicity of Carbon Nanotubes and Associated Cellular Behavior in Real Time
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) exhibit many unique properties that allow their use in a wide spectrum of biomedical applications, such as delivery of therapeutically molecules, genes and drugs. However, advances in the biomedical applications of CNTs are being hindered by many uncertainties regarding their cellular uptake mechanisms and fate inside the body. Reports have shown that CNTs toxicity can be attributed to their physical and chemical properties. However, there are no compelling reports that provide fundamental understanding of the toxicological and pharmacological profiles of cellular systems exposed to CNTs. In this research, an electronic platform is used to assess the toxicity of CNTs when incubated with human lung epithelial cells in vitro. This non-invasive technique relies on an electrical cell impedance sensing system (ECIS) used as a proxy to assess changes in cellular morphology and cell-cell interactions upon exposure to different concentrations and functionalities of CNTs. Our real time measurements are further correlated with the mechanisms associated with CNTs cytotoxic and apoptotic events by different cellular and optical assays. CNTs were functionalized in the lab to have different chemical and physical properties (i.e. hydrophilicity, length, diameter etc.). Atomic Force Microscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy along with Raman spectrometry were used to analyze the wide spectrum of functionalized CNTs in an attempt to correlate length, surface chemistry, size distribution, and degree of dispersion with CNTs toxicity as observed using ECIS. Our results provide novel means to investigate cellular toxicity associated with CNTs exposure in real time using a high throughput electronic platform; moreover, our platform and data analysis can be extended to investigate other types of nanomaterials in real time.