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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 314091, 10 pages
Research Article

Heparin and Carboxymethylchitosan Metal Nanoparticles: An Evaluation of Their Cytotoxicity

1Dipartimento di Biotecnologie e Scienze della Vita, Università dell'Insubria, 21100 Varese, Italy
2Dipartimento di Scienze Teoriche ed Applicate, Università dell'Insubria, 21100 Varese, Italy
3Dipartimento di Chimica, Materiali e Ingegneria Chimica “G. Natta,” Politecnico di Milano, 20131 Milano, Italy
4Interuniversity Center “The Protein Factory,” Politecnico di Milano, ICRM-CNR Milano and Università dell'Insubria, 20131 Milano, Italy
5Division of Oncology and Hematology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA

Received 23 October 2012; Revised 3 January 2013; Accepted 3 January 2013

Academic Editor: Xudong Huang

Copyright © 2013 Adriana Bava et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the search for noninvasive diagnostic techniques and new therapies, “nanosystems”, which are capable of binding and targeting bioactive molecules, are becoming increasingly important. In this context, biocompatible coatings are gaining interest, not only for their biological effects but also because they are considered capable to mask nanoparticle toxicity. In this work, we have compared the toxicity of nanoparticles coated with heparin and carboxymethylchitosan in the SKOV-3 cell line. Our results indicate that heparin and carboxymethylchitosan coatings do not guarantee the decrease of nanoparticle intrinsic toxicity which is often envisaged. Nonetheless, these coatings provide the opportunity for further functionalization with a variety of biomolecules for their use in theranostics.