Label-free impedance flow cytometry for nanotoxicity screening
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The development of reliable and cost-efficient methods to assess the toxicity of nanomaterials (NMs) is critical for the proper identification of their impact on human health and for ensuring a safe progress of nanotechnology. In this study, we investigated the reliability and applicability of label-free impedance flow cytometry (IFC) for in vitro nanotoxicity screening, which avoids time-consuming labelling steps and minimizes possible NM-induced interferences. U937 human lymphoma cells were exposed for 24 h to eight different nanomaterials at five concentrations (2, 10, 20, 50, and 100 μg/mL). The NMs’ effect on viability was measured using IFC and the results were compared to those obtained by trypan blue (TB) dye exclusion and conventional flow cytometry (FC). To discriminate viable from necrotic cells, the IFC measurement settings regarding signal trigger level and frequency, as well as the buffer composition, were optimised. A clear discrimination between viable and necrotic cells was obtained at 6 MHz in a sucrose-based measurement buffer. Nanomaterial-induced interferences were not detected for IFC. The IFC and TB assay results were in accordance for all NMs. The IFC was found to be robust, reliable and less prone to interferences due to the advantage of being label-free.