Influence of dynamic flow environment on nanoparticle-protein corona: From protein patterns to uptake in cancer cells

S. Palchetti, D. Pozzi, A. L. Capriotti, G. Barbera, R. Z. Chiozzi, L. Digiacomo, G. Peruzzi, G. Caracciolo, A. Lagana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The fast growing use of nanoparticles (NPs) in biotechnology and biomedicine raises concerns about human health and the environment. When introduced in physiological milieus, NPs adsorb biomolecules (especially proteins) forming the so-called protein corona (PC). As it is the PC that mostly interacts with biological systems, it represents a major element of the NPs' biological identity with impact on nanotoxicology, nanosafety and targeted delivery of nanomedicines. To date, NP-protein interactions have been largely investigated in vitro, but this condition is far from mimicking the dynamic nature of physiological environments. Here we investigate the effect of shear stress on PC by exposing lipid NPs with different surface chemistry (either unmodified and PEGylated) to circulating fetal bovine serum (FBS). PC formed upon in vitro incubation was used as a reference. We demonstrate that PC is significantly influenced by exposure to dynamic flow and that changes in PC composition are dependent on both exposure time and NP's surface chemistry. Notably, alterations induced by dynamic flow affected cellular uptake of lipid NPs in both human cervical cancer (HeLa) and human breast adenocarcinoma (MCF7) cell lines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-271
Number of pages9
JournalColloids and surfaces.B, Biointerfaces
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2017


  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Flow Cytometry
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Nanoparticles/chemistry/metabolism
  • Protein Corona/chemistry/metabolism
  • Surface Properties
  • Cancer cells
  • Dynamic flow environment
  • Nanoparticles
  • Physiological environments
  • Protein corona


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