The biocompatibility of mesoporous silicates

Biomaterials. 2008 Oct;29(30):4045-55. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.07.007.


Micro- and nano-mesoporous silicate particles are considered potential drug delivery systems because of their ordered pore structures, large surface areas and the ease with which they can be chemically modified. However, few cytotoxicity or biocompatibility studies have been reported, especially when silicates are administered in the quantities necessary to deliver low-potency drugs. The biocompatibility of mesoporous silicates of particle sizes approximately 150 nm, approximately 800 nm and approximately 4 microm and pore sizes of 3 nm, 7 nm and 16 nm, respectively, is examined here. In vitro, mesoporous silicates showed a significant degree of toxicity at high concentrations with mesothelial cells. Following subcutaneous injection of silicates in rats, the amount of residual material decreased progressively over 3 months, with good biocompatibility on histology at all time points. In contrast, intra-peritoneal and intra-venous injections in mice resulted in death or euthanasia. No toxicity was seen with subcutaneous injection of the same particles in mice. Microscopic analysis of the lung tissue of the mice indicated that death may be due to thrombosis. Although local tissue reaction to mesoporous silicates was benign, they caused severe systemic toxicity. This toxicity might be mitigated by modification of the materials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / toxicity*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Epithelium / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Male
  • Materials Testing
  • Mice
  • Nanostructures / toxicity*
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure*
  • Particle Size
  • Porosity
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Silicates / administration & dosage*
  • Silicates / toxicity*
  • Survival


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Silicates