Blood protein and blood cell interactions with gold nanoparticles: The need for in vivo studies

Neha B. Shah, John C. Bischof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Gold nanoparticles (GNPs) have gained In prominence within the field of nanomedicine with recent advancement of several embodiments to clinical trials. To ensure their success in the clinic it has become increasingly clear that a deeper understanding of the biological interactions of GNPs is imperative. Since the majority of GNPs are intended for systemic intravenous use, an immediate and critical biological interaction is between the blood and the GNP. Blood is composed of plasma proteins and cells. Both of these components can induce downstream effects upon interacting with GNPs that ultimately influence their medical impact. For instance, proteins from the blood can cover the GNP to create a biological identity through formation of a protein corona that is quite different from the originally synthesized GNP. Once in the bloodstream this protein coated GNP evokes both positive and negative physiological responses such as biodistribution into tissue for therapy (i.e., cancer) and toxicity or off target accumulation in the reticuloendothelial system (RES) that must be controlled for optimal use. In this review, we summarize predominantly in vitro studies of GNP interactions with blood plasma proteins and blood cells and make the case that more in vivo study is urgently needed to optimal design and control GNP use in medicine. In some cases where no specific GNP blood studies exist, we draw the readers' attention to studies conducted with other types of nanoparticles as reference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-79
Number of pages15
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2013


  • Gold Nanoparticles
  • blood-nanoparticle interactions
  • cell activation
  • coagulation
  • phagocytosis
  • plasma protein
  • red blood cells
  • white blood cells


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