Effects of PVA-coated nanoparticles on human T helper cell activity

Toxicol Lett. 2016 Mar 14;245:52-8. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2016.01.003. Epub 2016 Jan 13.


Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION) are used as high-sensitive enhancer for magnetic resonance imaging, where they represent a promising tool for early diagnosis of destructive diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Since we could demonstrate that professional phagocytes are activated by amino-polyvinyl-alcohol-coated-SPION (a-PVA-SPION), the study here focuses on the influence of a-PVA-SPION on human T cells activity. Therefore, primary human CD4+ T cells from RA patients and healthy subjects were treated with varying doses of a-PVA-SPION for 20h or 72h. T cells were then analyzed for apoptosis, cellular energy, expression of the activation marker CD25 and cell proliferation. Although, we observed that T cells from RA patients are more susceptible to low-dose a-PVA-SPION-induced apoptosis than T cells from healthy subjects, in both groups a-PVA-SPION do not activate CD4+ T cells per se and do not influence mitogen-mediated T cells activation with regard to CD25 expression and cell proliferation. Nevertheless, our results demonstrate that CD4+ T cells from RA patients and healthy subjects differ in their response to mitogen stimulation and oxygen availability. We conclude from our data, that a-PVA-SPION do neither activate nor significantly influence mitogen-stimulated CD4+ T cells activation and have negligible influence on T cells apoptosis.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Cellular energy metabolism; Human T helper cells; Iron oxide nanoparticles; Proliferation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Ferric Compounds / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit / metabolism
  • Magnetics
  • Mitogens / pharmacology
  • Nanoparticles / toxicity*
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Polyvinyl Alcohol / toxicity*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / drug effects*


  • Ferric Compounds
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit
  • Mitogens
  • ferric oxide
  • Polyvinyl Alcohol