Cytokinesis-Block Micronucleus Assay Using Human Lymphocytes as a Sensitive Tool for Cytotoxicity/Genotoxicity Evaluation of AgNPs

ACS Omega. 2020 May 21;5(21):12005-12015. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.0c00149. eCollection 2020 Jun 2.


Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are the most used nanomaterials worldwide due to their excellent antibacterial, antiviral, and antitumor activities, among others. However, there is scarce information regarding their genotoxic potential measured using human peripheral blood lymphocytes. In this work, we present the cytotoxic and genotoxic behavior of two commercially available poly(vinylpyrrolidone)-coated silver nanoparticle (PVP-AgNPs) formulations that can be identified as noncytotoxic and nongenotoxic by just evaluating micronuclei (MNi) induction and the mitotic index, but present enormous differences when other parameters such as cytostasis, apoptosis, necrosis, and nuclear damage (nuclear buds (NBUDs) and nucleoplasmic bridges (NPBs)) are analyzed. The results show that Argovit (35 nm PVP-AgNPs) and nanoComposix (50 nm PVP-AgNPs), at concentrations from 0.012 to 12 μg/mL, produce no changes in the nuclear division index (NDI) or micronuclei (MNi) frequency compared with the values found on control cultures of human blood peripheral lymphocytes from a healthy donor. Still, 50 nm PVP-AgNPs significantly decrease the replication index and significantly increase cytostasis, apoptosis, necrosis, and the frequencies of nuclear buds (NBUDs) and nucleoplasmic bridges (NPBs). These results provide evidence that the cytokinesis-block micronucleus (CBMN) assay using human lymphocytes and evaluating the eight parameters provided by the technique is a sensitive, fast, accurate, and inexpensive detection tool to support or discard AgNPs or other nanomaterials, which is worthwhile for continued testing of their effectiveness and toxicity for biomedical applications. In addition, it provides very important information about the role played by the [coating agent]/[metal] ratio in the design of nanomaterials that could reduce adverse effects as much as possible while retaining their therapeutic capabilities.