by Farda Barandeh, Phuong-Lan Nguyen, Rajiv Kumar, Gary J. Iacobucci, Michelle L. Kuznicki, Andrew Kosterman, Earl J. Bergey, Paras N. Prasad, Shermali Gunawardena
The application of nanotechnology in biological research is beginning to have a major impact leading to the development of new types of tools for human health. One focus of nanobiotechnology is the development of nanoparticle-based formulations for use in drug or gene delivery systems. However most of the nano probes currently in use have varying levels of toxicity in cells or whole organisms and therefore are not suitable for in vivo application or long-term use. Here we test the potential of a novel silica based nanoparticle (organically modified silica, ORMOSIL) in living neurons within a whole organism. We show that feeding ORMOSIL nanoparticles to Drosophila has no effect on viability. ORMOSIL nanoparticles penetrate into living brains, neuronal cell bodies and axonal projections. In the neuronal cell body, nanoparticles are present in the cytoplasm, but not in the nucleus. Strikingly, incorporation of ORMOSIL nanoparticles into the brain did not induce aberrant neuronal death or interfered with normal neuronal processes. Our results in Drosophila indicate that these novel silica based nanoparticles are biocompatible and not toxic to whole organisms, and has potential for the development of long-term applications.