This report compares the effect of lipid and polymeric nanoparticles upon human neutrophils in the presence of cationic surfactants. Nanostructured lipid carriers and poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid nanoparticles were manufactured as lipid and polymeric systems, respectively. Some cytotoxic and proinflammatory mediators such as lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), elastase, O2•−, and intracellular Ca2+ were examined. The nanoparticles showed a size of 170–225 nm. Incorporation of cetyltrimethylammonium bromide or soyaethyl morpholinium ethosulfate, the cationic surfactant, converted zeta potential from a negative to a positive charge. Nanoparticles without cationic surfactants revealed a negligible change on immune and inflammatory responses. Cationic surfactants in both nanoparticulate and free forms induced cell death and the release of mediators. Lipid nanoparticles generally demonstrated a greater response compared to polymeric nanoparticles. The neutrophil morphology observed by electron microscopy confirmed this trend. Cetyltrimethylammonium bromide as the coating material showed more significant activation of neutrophils than soyaethyl morpholinium ethosulfate. Confocal microscope imaging displayed a limited internalization of nanoparticles into neutrophils. It is proposed that cationic nanoparticles interact with the cell membrane, triggering membrane disruption and the following Ca2+ influx. The elevation of intracellular Ca2+ induces degranulation and oxidative stress. The consequence of these effects is cytotoxicity and cell death. Caution should be taken when selecting feasible nanoparticulate formulations and cationic additives for consideration of applicability and toxicity.
Keywords: cationic surfactant, neutrophil, inflammation, nanoparticle