A plethora of nanoarchitectures have been evaluated preclincially for applications in early detection and treatment of diseases at molecular and cellular levels resulted in limited success of their clinical translation. It is important to identify the factors that directly or indirectly affect their use in human. We bring a fundamental understanding of how to adjust the biocompatibility of carbon based spherical nanoparticles (CNPs) through defined chemistry and a vigilant choice of surface functionalities. CNPs of various size are designed by tweaking size (2-250 nm), surface chemistries (positive, or negatively charged), molecular chemistries (linear, dendritic, hyperbranched) and the molecular weight of the coating agents (MW 400-20 kDa). A combination of in vitro assays as tools were performed to determine the critical parameters that may trigger toxicity. Results indicated that hydrodynamic sizes are potentially not a risk factor for triggering cellular and systemic toxicity, whereas the presence of a highly positive surface charge and increasing molecular weight enhance the chance of inducing complement activation. Bare and carboxyl-terminated CNPs did present some toxicity at the cellular level which, however, is not comparable to those caused by positively charged CNPs. Similarly, negatively charged CNPs with hydroxyl and carboxylic functionalities did not cause any hemolysis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas