Neutrophil surveillance is central to nanoparticle clearance. Silver nanoparticles (AgNP) have numerous uses, however conflicting evidence exists as to their impact on neutrophils and whether they trigger damaging inflammation. Neutrophil's importance in innate defence and regulating immune networks mean it's essential we understand AgNP's impact on neutrophil function. Human neutrophil viability following AgNP or Ag Bulk treatment was analysed by flow cytometry and AnV/PI staining. Whilst AgNP exposure did not increase the total number of apoptotic neutrophils, the number of late apoptotic neutrophils was increased, suggesting AgNP increase transit through apoptosis. Mature (CD16bright/CD62Lbright), immature (CD16dim/CD62Lbright) and apoptotic (CD16dim/CD62Ldim) neutrophil populations were evident within isolated neutrophil preparations. AgNP exposure significantly reduced CD62L staining of CD16bright/CD62Lbright neutrophils, and increased CD16 staining of CD16dim/CD62Lbright populations, suggesting AgNPs trigger neutrophil activation and maturation, respectively. AgNP exposure dramatically increased IL-8, yet not classical pro-inflammatory cytokine release, suggesting AgNP triggers neutrophil activation, without pro-inflammation or damaging, necrotic cell death. For the first time, we show AgNPs differentially affect distinct sub-populations of circulating human neutrophils; activating mature neutrophils with the emergence of CD16bright/CD62Ldim neutrophils. This may stimulate particle clearance without harmful inflammation, challenging previous assumptions that silver nanomaterials induce neutrophil toxicity and damaging inflammatory responses.
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