Toxic effects of silver nanoparticles and nanowires on erythrocyte rheology

Min Jung Kim, Sehyun Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid developments in the food applications of silver nanomaterials (Ag-NMs) have resulted in concerns related to the risk of overexposure of human blood. We investigated the effect of size and aspect ratio of Ag-NMs on rheological characteristics of human erythrocytes, including hemolysis, deformability, aggregation, and morphological changes. Red blood cells (RBCs) were exposed to two different sizes of spherical particles (d~. 30. nm or 100. nm) or nanowires (d~. 40. nm, l-2. μm in length) at a range of concentrations and incubation times. The concentrations of Ag-NMs were carefully chosen to avoid any hemorheological alteration due to hemolysis. Rheological properties were measured using microfluidic-laser diffractometry and aggregometry. RBC deformability apparently decreased after treatment with a low concentration of Ag-NPs for a short exposure time. However, RBC aggregation was significantly altered after treatment with a low concentration of either Ag-NWs or large Ag-NPs compared to small Ag-NPs. Additional experiments with Ag ions confirmed that the observed rheological changes were mainly caused by the Ag-NMs rather than the Ag ions. These hemorheological findings provide a better understanding of the interaction between RBCs and Ag-NMs and will help in assessing the risk of nanomaterial toxicity in blood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-86
Number of pages7
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - 2014 May

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Nano Material Technology Development Program (Green Nano Technology Development Program) through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (No. 2011-0020090).


  • Blood
  • Deformability
  • Hemorheology
  • Silver nanoparticles
  • Silver nanowires
  • Toxicology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology


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