, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 580–586 | Cite as

Effects of Gold Nanoparticles with Different Surface Charges on Cellular Internalization and Cytokine Responses in Monocytes

  • Sukanya Srijampa
  • Surachat Buddhisa
  • Sawinee Ngernpimai
  • Duangkamon Sangiamdee
  • Apiwat Chompoosor
  • Patcharaporn TippayawatEmail author


Surface modification of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) affects the interactions between the AuNPs and biological systems. To use AuNPs in biomedical applications, an investigation of how different surface charges of AuNPs affect the internalization mechanisms and functions of monocytes is needed. In this study, U937 cells were exposed to AuNPs with positive (AuNPs+ve) and negative (AuNPs-ve) surface charges. Cellular responses to the AuNPs, including cell uptake pathways, cell activation and cytokine production, were analysed. The results indicated different responses to AuNPs-ve and AuNPs+ve in outcomes including internalization pathways, cell activation and cytokine production levels. Interestingly, the results suggested that AuNPs+ve tended to enter the cells via macropinocytosis and strongly elicited a cellular response of IL-6 production via NF-kB activation, whereas the AuNPs-ve suppressed IL-6 production. Therefore, these results provide essential information for designing nanoparticles and may contribute to possible future nanomedicine applications, such as drug delivery and vaccination.

Graphical abstract

The demonstration of AuNPs+ve and AuNPs-ve were taken up through the immune cells by different pathways via phagocytosis/macropinocytosis, clathrin-mediated endocytosis, and caveolae-mediated endocytosis and clathrin-mediated endocytosis, respectively. Then, the cellular activations were occurred and observed by NF-kB activation and cytokine production.


Surface charge Gold nanoparticles Cell uptake pathways Immunity 


Funding Statement

The authors would like to acknowledge financial support from the Thailand Research Fund (TRG5880024) and the Mekong Health Science Research Institute (MeHSRI), Khon Kaen University, Thailand.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Humans and Animals Statement


Informed Consent


Supplementary material

12668_2019_638_MOESM1_ESM.doc (45 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 45 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biosensor Research Group for Non-Communicable Disease and Infectious Disease, Centre for Research and Development of Medical Diagnostic Laboratories, Faculty of Associated Medical SciencesKhon Kaen UniversityKhon KaenThailand
  2. 2.Department of Medical Technology, Faculty of Allied Health SciencesUniversity of PhayaoPhayaoThailand
  3. 3.Materials Science and Nanotechnology Program, Faculty of ScienceKhon Kaen UniversityKhon KaenThailand
  4. 4.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of ScienceRamkhamhaeng UniversityBangkokThailand
  5. 5.Department of Medical Technology, Faculty of Associated Medical SciencesKhon Kaen UniversityKhon KaenThailand

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