There is evidence that nanoparticles can induce endothelial dysfunction. Here, the effect of monodisperse amorphous silica nanoparticles (SiO2-NPs) of different diameters on endothelial cells function is examined. Human endothelial cell line (EA.hy926) or primary human pulmonary artery endothelial cells (hPAEC) are seeded in inserts introduced or not above triple cell co-cultures (pneumocytes, macrophages, and mast cells). Endothelial cells are incubated with SiO2-NPs at non-cytotoxic concentrations for 12 h. A significant increase (up to 2-fold) in human monocytes adhesion to endothelial cells is observed for 18 and 54 nm particles. Exposure to SiO2-NPs induces protein expression of adhesion molecules (ICAM-1 and VCAM-1) as well as significant up-regulation in mRNA expression of ICAM-1 in both endothelial cell types. Experiments performed with fluorescent-labelled monodisperse amorphous SiO2-NPs of similar size evidence nanoparticle uptake into the cytoplasm of endothelial cells. It is concluded that exposure of human endothelial cells to amorphous silica nanoparticles enhances their adhesive properties. This process is modified by the size of the nanoparticle and the presence of other co-cultured cells.
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