(766e) Detecting Toxicity of Carbon Nanotubes Using Nanoindentation
Carbon nanotubes are being explored for broadest applications including electrical circuits, hydrogen storage, fiber optics, and conductive plastics. In recent years, their biocompatibility with small molecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids, opened up exciting biomedical applications. Thus, concerns about their potential cytotoxicity on both human and environmental have risen. It is necessary to develop significant and sensitive analysis technologies for carbon nanotubes cytotoxicity investigation. Our research aims at elucidating the mechanisms of interactions of carbon nanotubes with biological systems and evaluating the overall effects on the cell fate. To unravel the molecular mechanisms of such interaction, we need to use the latest technological advances in which both structure and function of the cells upon exposure are being analyzed. Here we employed Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) to carry on system analysis on cellular topography and mechanical properties of immobilized cells treated with carbon nanotubes with high spatial resolution and increased sensitivity. Our results indicated that cellular exposure to carbon nanotubes lead to significant changes in cell biophysical and biomechanical properties. Moreover, such analysis provided the possibility to develop biomechanical based methods to probe the structure-function relationship in live cells and cells incubated with different nanomaterials.