Impact of Plasmonic Nanoparticles on Poikilocytosis and Microrheological Properties of Erythrocytes

Tatiana Avsievich, Ruixue Zhu, Alexey P. Popov, Alexander Yatskovskiy, Anton A. Popov, Gleb Tikhonowsky, Andrei I. Pastukhov, Sergei Klimentov, Alexander Bykov, Andrei Kabashin, Igor Meglinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Plasmonic nanoparticles (NP) possess great potential in photothermal therapy and diagnostics. However, novel NP require a detailed examination for potential toxicity and peculiarities of interaction with cells. Red blood cells (RBC) are important for NP distribution and the development of hybrid RBC-NP delivery systems. This research explored RBC alterations induced by noble (Au and Ag) and nitride-based (TiN and ZrN) laser-synthesized plasmonic NP. Optical tweezers and conventional microscopy modalities indicated the effects arising at non-hemolytic levels, such as RBC poikilocytosis, and alterations in RBC microrheological parameters, elasticity and intercellular interactions. Aggregation and deformability significantly decreased for echinocytes independently of NP type, while for intact RBC, all NP except Ag NP increased the interaction forces but had no effect on RBC deformability. RBC poikilocytosis promoted by NP at concentration 50 μg mL−1 was more pronounced for Au and Ag NP, compared to TiN and ZrN NP. Nitride-based NP demonstrated better biocompatibility towards RBC and higher photothermal efficiency than their noble metal counterparts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1046
Number of pages15
Issue number4
Early online date23 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023 by the authors.
Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
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Funding Information:
Current study partially supported by the Suomen Kulttuurirahasto (grant No. 00190188), China Scholarship Council (CSC No. 201706410089) and the INFOTECH and the Academy of Finland (project 325097). The authors also acknowledge the contribution of Russian Science Foundation (Project: 19-72-30012 and Project: 22-65-00096). I.M. acknowledges the support from the Leverhulme Trust and The Royal Society (Ref. no.: APX\R1\211232 APEX Awards 2021).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • aggregation
  • cell–cell interactions
  • microrheology
  • microscopy
  • optical manipulation
  • plasmonic nanoparticles
  • poikilocytosis
  • red blood cells


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