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Cytotoxicity of selenium nanoparticles in rat dermal fibroblasts

International Journal of Nanomedicine
Dove Medical Press
Publication Date
DOI: 10.2147/ijn.s33767
  • Original Research


Background: Ventilator-associated pneumonia is a deadly nosocomial infection caused by contaminated endotracheal tubes. It has been shown that polyvinyl chloride (PVC, the endotracheal tube substrate) coated with elemental selenium nanoparticles reduces bacterial adherence and proliferation on PVC by over 99%. However, it is not known if selenium nanoparticles elicit a cytotoxic effect in vitro. The purpose of this study was to investigate the cytotoxic effects of PVC coated with selenium nanoparticles on fibroblasts, which are mammalian cells central to endotracheal tube intubation. Methods: Different concentrations of selenium nanoparticles were precipitated onto the PVC surface by reduction of selenium salts using glutathione. Characterization of PVC coated with selenium nanoparticles was done by scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive x-ray, and contact angle measurements. For the cytotoxicity experiments, fibroblasts were seeded at a density of 5000 cm2 onto PVC coated with three different concentrations of selenium nanoparticles (high, medium, low) and incubated for 4 hours (adhesion) as well as for 24 hours and 72 hours (proliferation). The half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) value was determined after 72 hours using an ultrahigh concentration. MTT assays were used to assess cell viability at the indicated time points. Results: The three concentrations of selenium nanoparticles did not elicit a cytotoxic effect after 72 hours (P < 0.01, n = 3). It was found that the IC50value was at the ultrahigh concentration of selenium nanoparticles. The nanoparticulate elemental selenium concentration previously shown to decrease the function of bacteria was shown not to cause a cytotoxic effect on fibroblasts in vitro. Conclusion: These findings demonstrate great selectivity between bacteria and healthy cells, and are a viable option for coating endotracheal tubes in order to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia.

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