Hefei Institutes of Physical Science
Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Scientists Combine Microfluidic Chips to SERS for Nanoparticle Toxicity Study on Living Cells
Date: 2018/07/23 Author: HUANG Qing

Chinese scientists developed a new technique to realize the study of toxicity of silver nanoparticles (or Ag-NPs) to living cells.

The technique was realized by Huang Qing and his team in Hefei Institutes of Physical Science through combining microfluidic techniques and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (or SERS) that is considered difficult to be applied in living cells research.

SERS, a powerful analytical technique, has captured increasing attention for many advantages it possesses. However, there are challenges in its application in living cells study.

In a combining way, HUNAG’s team established a microfluidic-SERS approach to evaluate the toxicity effect of Ag NPs on living cells.

They discovered that Ag NPs can be used not only as the cell toxicity inducer but also the SERS signal reporter. Using the new method, they could assess the number of Ag NPs entering in a single living cell and set up a correlation between the number of Ag NPs in the cell and the toxicity of Ag NPs to the cell.

Previously, HUANG's group also used microfluidic-SERS approach and managed to achieve a quantitative analysis of the effects of dihydroartemisinin (an antimalarial drug) on cancer cells (Lab Chip, 172017, 1306-1313).

All these works have confirmed the microfluidic-SERS approach's application in analytical living cell research.

The research work was supported the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the National Key Basic Research Program of China.

Link to the paper: A microfluidic surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy approach for assessing the particle number effect of AgNPs on cytotoxicity

Illustration: a schematic diagram of the microfluidic SERS experimental setup (left); the Raman spectral imaging with different silver nanoparticle concentrations (upper right) and the quantitative analysis of the nanoparticles and cell survival rates of the HeLa cells (lower right) (Image by ZHAI Zhimin)




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