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  1. Numerous studies have linked a wide range of diseases including respiratory illnesses to harmful particulate matter (PM) emissions indoors and outdoors, such as incense PM and industrial PM. Because of their ability to penetrate the lower respiratory tract and the circulatory system, fine particles with diameters of 2.5 µm or less (PM2.5) are believed to be more hazardous than larger PMs. Despite the enormous number of studies focusing on the intracellular processes associated with PM2.5 exposure, there have been limited reports studying the biophysical properties of cell membranes, such as nanoscale morphological changes induced by PM2.5. Our study assesses the membrane topographical and structural effects of PM2.5 from incense PM2.5 exposure in real time on A549 lung carcinoma epithelial cells and SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells that had been fixed to preclude adaptive cell responses. The size distribution and mechanical properties of the PM2.5 sample were characterized with atomic force microscopy (AFM). Nanoscale morphological monitoring of the cell membranes utilizing scanning ion conductance microscopy (SICM) indicated statistically significant increasing membrane roughness at A549 cells at half an hour of exposure and visible damage at 4 h of exposure. In contrast, no significant increase in roughness was observed on SH-SY5Y cells after halfmore »an hour of PM2.5 exposure, although continued exposure to PM2.5 for up to 4 h affected an expansion of lesions already present before exposure commenced. These findings suggest that A549 cell membranes are more susceptible to structural damage by PM2.5 compared to SH-SY5Y cell membranes, corroborating more enhanced susceptibility of airway epithelial cells to exposure to PM2.5 than neuronal cells. SICM · Particulate matter · Membrane topography · Single-cell imaging« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  2. Prussian blue is an iron-cyanide-based pigment steadily becoming a widely used electrochemical sensor in detecting hydrogen peroxide at low concentration levels. Prussian blue nanoparticles (PBNPs) have been extensively studied using traditional ensemble methods, which only provide averaged information. Investigating PBNPs at a single entity level is paramount for correlating the electrochemical activities to particle structures and will shed light on the major factors governing the catalyst activity of these nanoparticles. Here we report on using plasmonic electrochemical microscopy (PEM) to study the electrochemistry of PBNPs at the individual nanoparticle level. First, two types of PBNPs were synthesized; type I synthesized with double precursors method and type II synthesized with polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) assisted single precursor method. Second, both PBNPs types were compared on their electrochemical reduction to form Prussian white, and the effect from the different particle structures was investigated. Type I PBNPs provided better PEM sensitivity and were used to study the catalytic reduction of hydrogen peroxide. Progressively decreasing plasmonic signals with respect to increasing hydrogen peroxide concentration were observed, demonstrating the capability of sensing hydrogen peroxide at a single nanoparticle level utilizing this optical imaging technique.