Metabolic reprogramming of macrophages exposed to silk, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) and silica nanoparticles

Raquel Saborano, Thidarat Wongpinyochit, John D. Totten, Blair F. Johnston, Philipp Seib, Iola F. Duarte

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49 Citations (Scopus)
195 Downloads (Pure)


Monitoring macrophage metabolism in response to nanoparticle exposure provides new insights into biological outcomes, such as inflammation or toxicity, and supports the design of tailored nanomedicines. We describe the metabolic signature of macrophages exposed to nanoparticles ranging in diameter from 100 to 125 nm and made from silk, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) or silica. Nanoparticles of this size and type are currently at various stages of pre-clinical and clinical development for drug delivery applications. We used 1H NMR analysis of cell extracts and culture media to quantify the changes in the intracellular and extracellular metabolomes of macrophages in response to nanoparticle exposure. Increased glycolytic activity, an altered tricarboxylic acid cycle and reduced ATP generation were consistent with a pro-inflammatory phenotype. Furthermore, amino acids possibly arising from autophagy, the creatine kinase/phosphocreatine system and a few osmolytes and antioxidants emerged as important players in the metabolic reprogramming of macrophages exposed to nanoparticles. This metabolic signature was a common response to all nanoparticles tested; however, the direction and magnitude of some variations were clearly nanoparticle specific, indicating material-induced biological specificity. Overall, metabolic reprogramming of macrophages can be achieved with nanoparticle treatments, modulated through the choice of the material, and monitored using 1H NMR metabolomics.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Early online date8 May 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 May 2017


  • silk nanoparticles
  • plga nanoparticles
  • silica nanoparticles
  • nmr metabolomics
  • macrophages


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