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Open AccessArticle

ZnO Interactions with Biomatrices: Effect of Particle Size on ZnO-Protein Corona

Department of Applied Food System, Major of Food Science & Technology, Seoul Women’s University, Seoul 01797, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(11), 377;
Received: 27 September 2017 / Revised: 28 October 2017 / Accepted: 2 November 2017 / Published: 6 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZnO and TiO2 Based Nanostructures)
PDF [2467 KB, uploaded 8 November 2017]


Zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles (NPs) have been widely used for food fortification, because zinc is essential for many enzyme and hormone activities and cellular functions, but public concern about their potential toxicity is increasing. Interactions between ZnO and biomatrices might affect the oral absorption, distribution, and toxicity of ZnO, which may be influenced by particle size. In this study, ZnO interactions with biomatrices were investigated by examining the physicochemical properties, solubility, protein fluorescence quenching, particle–protein corona, and intestinal transport with respect to the particle size (bulk vs. nano) in simulated gastrointestinal (GI) and plasma fluids and in rat-extracted fluids. The results demonstrate that the hydrodynamic radii and zeta potentials of bulk ZnO and nano ZnO in biofluids changed in different ways, and that nano ZnO induced higher protein fluorescence quenching than bulk ZnO. However, ZnO solubility and its intestinal transport mechanism were unaffected by particle size. Proteomic analysis revealed that albumin, fibrinogen, and fibronectin play roles in particle–plasma protein corona, regardless of particle size. Furthermore, nano ZnO was found to interact more strongly with plasma proteins. These observations show that bulk ZnO and nano ZnO interact with biomatrices in different ways and highlight the need for further study of their long-term toxicity. View Full-Text
Keywords: zinc oxide; interaction; gastrointestinal fluid; plasma; particle size zinc oxide; interaction; gastrointestinal fluid; plasma; particle size

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Yu, J.; Kim, H.-J.; Go, M.-R.; Bae, S.-H.; Choi, S.-J. ZnO Interactions with Biomatrices: Effect of Particle Size on ZnO-Protein Corona. Nanomaterials 2017, 7, 377.

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