Silver nanoparticles promote the emergence of heterogeneic human neutrophil sub-populations

Jenny Fraser, Sadie Kemp, Lesley Young, Mark D Ross , Morag Prach, Gary R Hutchison, Eva Malone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neutrophil surveillance is central to nanoparticle clearance. Silver nanoparticles (AgNP) have numerous uses, however conficting evidence exists as to their impact on neutrophils and whether they trigger damaging infammation. Neutrophil’s importance in innate defence and regulating immune networks
mean it’s essential we understand AgNP’s impact on neutrophil function. Human neutrophil viability following AgNP or Ag Bulk treatment was analysed by fow cytometry and AnV/PI staining. Whilst AgNP exposure did not increase the total number of apoptotic neutrophils, the number of late apoptotic
neutrophils was increased, suggesting AgNP increase transit through apoptosis. Mature (CD16bright/ CD62Lbright), immature (CD16dim/CD62Lbright) and apoptotic (CD16dim/CD62Ldim) neutrophil populations were evident within isolated neutrophil preparations. AgNP exposure signifcantly reduced CD62L
staining of CD16bright/CD62Lbright neutrophils, and increased CD16 staining of CD16dim/CD62Lbright populations, suggesting AgNPs trigger neutrophil activation and maturation, respectively. AgNP exposure dramatically increased IL-8, yet not classical pro-infammatory cytokine release, suggesting
AgNP triggers neutrophil activation, without pro-infammation or damaging, necrotic cell death. For the frst time, we show AgNPs diferentially afect distinct sub-populations of circulating human neutrophils; activating mature neutrophils with the emergence of CD16bright/CD62Ldim neutrophils. This may stimulate particle clearance without harmful infammation, challenging previous assumptions that silver nanomaterials induce neutrophil toxicity and damaging infammatory responses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Early online date14 May 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 May 2018


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