Role of cell cycle on the cellular uptake and dilution of nanoparticles in a cell population

Jong Ah Kim*, Christoffer Åberg, Anna Salvati, Kenneth A Dawson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

416 Citations (Scopus)


Nanoparticles are considered a primary vehicle for targeted therapies because they can pass biological barriers and enter and distribute within cells by energy-dependent pathways(1-3). So far, most studies have shown that nanoparticle properties, such as size(4-6) and surface(7,8), can influence how cells internalize nanoparticles. Here, we show that uptake of nanoparticles by cells is also influenced by their cell cycle phase. Although cells in different phases of the cell cycle were found to internalize nanoparticles at similar rates, after 24 h the concentration of nanoparticles in the cells could be ranked according to the different phases: G2/M > S > G0/G1. Nanoparticles that are internalized by cells are not exported from cells but are split between daughter cells when the parent cell divides. Our results suggest that future studies on nanoparticle uptake should consider the cell cycle, because, in a cell population, the dose of internalized nanoparticles in each cell varies as the cell advances through the cell cycle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-68
Number of pages7
JournalNature Nanotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate
  • Humans
  • Lysosome-Associated Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Lysosomes
  • Nanoparticles

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