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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2011, Article ID 473516, 8 pages
Research Article

Some Observations on Carbon Nanotubes Susceptibility to Cell Phagocytosis

1Department of Biomaterials, Faculty of Materials Science and Ceramics, AGH-University of Science and Technology, al Mickiewicza 30, 30-059 Krakow, Poland
2Department of Cytobiology, Collegium Medicum, Jagiellonian University, Medyczna 9, 30-068 Krakow, Poland

Received 30 September 2010; Accepted 30 December 2010

Academic Editor: Xiaojun Yu

Copyright © 2011 Aneta Fraczek-Szczypta 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.


The aim of this study was to assess the influence of different types of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) on cell phagocytosis. Three kinds of carbon nanotubes: single-walled carbon nanohorns (SWCNHs), multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), and ultra-long single-walled carbon nanotubes (ULSWCNTs) before and after additional chemical functionalization were seeded with macrophage cell culture. Prior to biological testing, the CNTs were subjected to dispersion process with the use of phosphate buffered solution (PBS) and PBS containing surfactant (Tween 20) or dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). The results indicate that the cells interaction with an individual nanotube is entirely different as compared to CNTs in the form of aggregate. The presence of the surfactant favors the CNTs dispersion in culture media and facilitates phagocytosis process, while it has disadvantageous influence on cells morphology. The cells phagocytosis is a more effective for MWCNTs and SWCNHs after their chemical functionalization. Moreover, these nanotubes were well dispersed in culture media without using DMSO or surfactant. The functionalized carbon nanotubes were easily dispersed in pure PBS and seeded with cells.