Materials 2010, 3(9), 4681-4694; doi:10.3390/ma3094681
Article

Detection of the Presence of Gold Nanoparticles in Organs by Transmission Electron Microscopy

1 Laboratory for Health Protection Research, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), PO Box 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands 2 Laboratory for Infectious Diseases Screening, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), PO Box 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands 2 Laboratory for Infectious Diseases Screening, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), PO Box 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands 3 MiPlaza, Philips Research Europe, High Tech Campus 11, 5656 AE Eindhoven, The Netherlands 4 Centre for Biological Medicines and Medical Technology, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), PO Box 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 July 2010; in revised form: 17 August 2010 / Accepted: 14 September 2010 / Published: 27 September 2010
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Abstract: Gold nanoparticles of 10 nm and 250 nm were intravenously injected in rats. At 24 h after administration, tissues were collected and prepared for transmission electron microscopy (TEM). In the liver and spleen of animals treated with 10 nm gold nanoparticles, groups of nanoparticles were observed that could be positively identified by Energy Dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis to contain gold, while nanoparticles could not be detected in the heart, kidney and brain. The 10 nm gold nanoparticles were present in the phagocytic cells of the reticulo-endothelial system (RES). The 250 nm gold nanoparticles could not be detected in any of the organs investigated. Considering the number of 250 nm gold nanoparticles administered, calculations showed that it would indeed be almost impossible to detect the 250 nm gold nanoparticles in TEM preparations in view of the very low number of particles that would be theoretically present in one TEM tissue section. This shows that relatively high numbers of nanoparticles need to be administered to enable the detection of nanoparticles in organs by TEM. In a number of samples, several globular structures of approximately the expected size were found in liver cells and the endothelium of blood vessels in the brain. However, elemental analysis with EDX detection showed that these structures did not contain gold. Our studies thus indicate that the in vivo identification of nanoparticles cannot only depend on the detection of nanosized structures in cells. An additional identification of the composing elements of the nanomaterial is necessary for a positive identification of the nanomaterial.
Keywords: gold nanoparticles; tissue distribution; transmission electron microscopy

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MDPI and ACS Style

Jong, W.H.D.; Burger, M.C.; Verheijen, M.A.; Geertsma, R.E. Detection of the Presence of Gold Nanoparticles in Organs by Transmission Electron Microscopy. Materials 2010, 3, 4681-4694.

AMA Style

Jong WHD, Burger MC, Verheijen MA, Geertsma RE. Detection of the Presence of Gold Nanoparticles in Organs by Transmission Electron Microscopy. Materials. 2010; 3(9):4681-4694.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jong, Wim H. De; Burger, Marina C.; Verheijen, Marcel A.; Geertsma, Robert E. 2010. "Detection of the Presence of Gold Nanoparticles in Organs by Transmission Electron Microscopy." Materials 3, no. 9: 4681-4694.

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