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Publication Details

Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Vol. 246, issues 1-2,2010, pp.91-99.


The immunotoxicity of three generations of polyamidoamine (PAMAM) dendrimers (G-4, G-5 and G-6) was evaluated in mouse macrophage cells in vitro. Using the Alamar blue and MTT assays, a generation dependent cytotoxicity of the PAMAM dendrimers was found whereby G-6 > G-5 > G-4. The toxic response of the PAMAM dendrimers correlated well with the number of surface primary amino groups, with increasing number resulting in an increase in toxic response. An assessment of intracellular ROS generation by the PAMAM dendrimers was performed by measuring the increased fluorescence as a result of intracellular oxidation of Carboxy H2DCFDA to DCF both quantitatively using plate reader and qualitatively by confocal laser scanning microscopy. The inflammatory mediators macrophage inflammatory protein-2 (MIP-2), tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6, (IL-6) were measured by the enzyme linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) following exposure of mouse macrophage cells to PAMAM dendrimers. A generation dependent ROS and cytokine production was found, which correlated well with the cytotoxicological response and therefore number of surface amino groups. A clear time sequence of increased ROS generation (maximum at not, vert, similar 4 h), TNF-α and IL-6 secretion (maximum at not, vert, similar 24 h), MIP-2 levels and cell death (not, vert, similar 72 h) was observed. The intracellular ROS generation and cytokine production induced cytotoxicity point towards the mechanistic pathway of cell death upon exposure to PAMAM dendrimers.