Molecular insights on the interference of simplified lung surfactant models by gold nanoparticle pollutants

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes, 2019, 1861 (8), pp. 1458 - 1467
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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. Inhaled nanoparticles (NPs) are experienced by the first biological barrier inside the alveolus known as lung surfactant (LS), a surface tension reducing agent, consisting of phospholipids and proteins in the form of the monolayer at the air-water interface. The monolayer surface tension is continuously regulated by the alveolus compression and expansion and protects the alveoli from collapsing. Inhaled NPs can reach deep into the lungs and interfere with the biophysical properties of the lung components. The interaction mechanisms of bare gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) with the LS monolayer and the consequences of the interactions on lung function are not well understood. Coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations were carried out to elucidate the interactions of AuNPs with simplified LS monolayers at the nanoscale. It was observed that the interactions of AuNPs and LS components deform the monolayer structure, change the biophysical properties of LS and create pores in the monolayer, which all interfere with the normal lungs function. The results also indicate that AuNP concentrations >0.1 mol% (of AuNPs/lipids) hinder the lowering of the LS surface tension, a prerequisite of the normal breathing process. Overall, these findings could help to identify the possible consequences of airborne NPs inhalation and their contribution to the potential development of various lung diseases.
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