Toxic effects of silver nanoparticles and nanowires on erythrocyte rheology

Min Jung Kim, Sehyun Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid developments in the food applications of silver nanomaterials (Ag-NMs) have resulted in concerns related to the risk of overexposure of human blood. We investigated the effect of size and aspect ratio of Ag-NMs on rheological characteristics of human erythrocytes, including hemolysis, deformability, aggregation, and morphological changes. Red blood cells (RBCs) were exposed to two different sizes of spherical particles (d~. 30. nm or 100. nm) or nanowires (d~. 40. nm, l-2. μm in length) at a range of concentrations and incubation times. The concentrations of Ag-NMs were carefully chosen to avoid any hemorheological alteration due to hemolysis. Rheological properties were measured using microfluidic-laser diffractometry and aggregometry. RBC deformability apparently decreased after treatment with a low concentration of Ag-NPs for a short exposure time. However, RBC aggregation was significantly altered after treatment with a low concentration of either Ag-NWs or large Ag-NPs compared to small Ag-NPs. Additional experiments with Ag ions confirmed that the observed rheological changes were mainly caused by the Ag-NMs rather than the Ag ions. These hemorheological findings provide a better understanding of the interaction between RBCs and Ag-NMs and will help in assessing the risk of nanomaterial toxicity in blood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-86
Number of pages7
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - 2014 May


  • Blood
  • Deformability
  • Hemorheology
  • Silver nanoparticles
  • Silver nanowires
  • Toxicology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology


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