Effect of endothelial cell heterogeneity on nanoparticle uptake

Aldy Aliyandi*, Simon Satchell, Ronald E Unger, Birke Bartosch, Romain Parent, Inge S Zuhorn, Anna Salvati

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
73 Downloads (Pure)


Endothelial cells exhibit distinct properties in morphology and functions in different organs that can be exploited for nanomedicine targeting. In this work, endothelial cells from different organs, i.e. brain, lung, liver, and kidney, were exposed to plain, carboxylated, and amino-modified silica. As expected, different protein coronas were formed on the different nanoparticle types and these changed when foetal bovine serum (FBS) or human serum were used. Uptake efficiencies differed strongly in the different endothelia, confirming that the cells retained some of their organ-specific differences. However, all endothelia showed higher uptake for the amino modified silica in FBS, but, interestingly, this changed to the carboxylated silica when human serum was used, confirming that differences in the protein corona affect uptake preferences by cells. Thus, uptake rates of fluid phase markers and transferrin were determined in liver and brain endothelium to compare their endocytic activity. Overall, our results showed that endothelial cells of different organs have very different nanoparticle uptake efficiency, likely due to differences in receptor expression, affinity, and activity. A thorough characterization of phenotypic differences in the endothelia lining different organs is key to the development of targeted nanomedicine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119699
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Early online date28-Jul-2020
Publication statusPublished - 25-Sept-2020


  • Endothelial cells
  • Protein corona
  • Endothelial cell targeting
  • Uptake
  • Heterogeneity
  • SIZE

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