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Scientific Reports 2018 March 28th

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Note that this version is a combined file including the main manuscript and supplementary materials.


Gold nanoparticles (AuNP) have potential as both diagnostic and therapeutic vehicles. However, selective targeting and uptake in cancer cells remains challenging. Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) can be combined with AuNP to achieve synergistic anti-cancer cytotoxicity. To explore synergistic mechanisms, we demonstrate both rate of AuNP uptake and total amount accumulated in U373MG Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) cells are signifcantly increased when exposed to 75kV CAP generated by dielectric barrier discharge. No signifcant changes in the physical parameters of AuNP were caused by CAP but active transport mechanisms were stimulated in cells. Unlike many other biological efects of CAP, long-lived reactive species were not involved, and plasma-activated liquids did not replicate the efect. Chemical efects induced by direct and indirect exposure to CAP appears the dominant mediator of enhanced uptake. Transient physical alterations of membrane integrity played a minor role. 3D-reconstruction of deconvoluted confocal images confrmed AuNP accumulation in lysosomes and other acidic vesicles, which will be useful for future drug delivery and diagnostic strategies. Toxicity of AuNP signifcantly increased by 25-fold when combined with CAP. Our data indicate that direct exposure to CAP activates AuNP-dependent cytotoxicity by increasing AuNP endocytosis and trafcking to lysosomes in U373MG cells.



DIT Fiosraigh Research Scholarship programme (Z.H., E.M., K.L.), Science Foundation Ireland Grant Number 11/PI/08 (A.C., H.B.), Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions - Research Fellowship Programme (F.T.), Irish Research Council (G.C.), Science Foundation Ireland Grant Number 14/IA/2626 (P.C. and J.C.), Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and European Regional Development Fund Grant number SAF2015-64123-P (C.B. and G.C)