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Computational Modelling of the Interaction of Gold Nanoparticle with Lung Surfactant Monolayer

  • Sheikh I. Hossain (a1), Neha S. Gandhi (a2), Zak E. Hughes (a3) and Suvash C. Saha (a1)


Lung surfactant (LS), a thin layer of phospholipids and proteins inside the alveolus of the lung is the first biological barrier to inhaled nanoparticles (NPs). LS stabilizes and protects the alveolus during its continuous compression and expansion by fine-tuning the surface tension at the air-water interface. Previous modelling studies have reported the biophysical function of LS monolayer and its role, but many open questions regarding the consequences and interactions of airborne nano-sized particles with LS monolayer remain. In spite of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) having a paramount role in biomedical applications, the understanding of the interactions between bare AuNPs (as pollutants) and LS monolayer components still unresolved. Continuous inhalation of NPs increases the possibility of lung ageing, reducing the normal lung functioning and promoting lung malfunction, and may induce serious lung diseases such as asthma, lung cancer, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and more. Different medical studies have shown that AuNPs can disrupt the routine lung functions of gold miners and promote respiratory diseases. In this work, coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations are performed to gain an understanding of the interactions between bare AuNPs and LS monolayer components at the nanoscale. Different surface tensions of the monolayer are used to mimic the biological process of breathing (inhalation and exhalation). It is found that the NP affects the structure and packing of the lipids by disordering lipid tails. Overall, the analysed results suggest that bare AuNPs impede the normal biophysical function of the lung, a finding that has beneficial consequences to the potential development of treatments of various respiratory diseases.


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