An in vitro assessment of the interaction of cadmium selenide quantum dots with DNA, iron, and blood platelets



Cadmium selenide (CdSe) quantum dots have gained increased attention for their potential use in biomedical applications. This has raised interest in assessing their toxicity. In this study, water-soluble, cysteine-capped CdSe nanocrystals with an average size of 15 nm were prepared through a one-pot solution-based method. The CdSe nanoparticles were synthesized in batches in which the concentration of the capping agent was varied with the aim of stabilizing the quantum dot core. The effects of the CdSe quantum dots on DNA stability, aggregation of blood platelets, and reducing activity of iron were evaluated in vitro . DNA damage was observed at a concentration of 200 μg/mL of CdSe quantum dots. Furthermore, the CdSe nanocrystals exhibited high reducing power and chelating activity, suggesting that they may impair the function of haemoglobin by interacting with iron. In addition, the CdSe quantum dots promoted aggregation of blood platelets in a dose dependent manner. © 2012 IUBMB IUBMB Life, 64(12): 995–1002, 2012