Generation of reactive oxygen species from porous silicon microparticles in cell culture medium

Suet Peng Low, Keryn Williams, Leigh T. Canham, Nicolas H. Voelcker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)


Nanostructured (porous) silicon is a promising biodegradable biomaterial, which is being intensively researched as a tissue engineering scaffold and drugdelivery vehicle. Here, we tested the biocompatibility of non-treated and thermally-oxidized porous silicon particles using an indirect cell viability assay. Initial direct cell culture on porous silicon determined that human lens epithelial cells only poorly adhered to non-treated porous silicon. Using an indirect cell culture assay, we found that non-treated microparticles caused complete cell death, indicating that these particles generated a toxic product in cell culture medium. In contrast, thermally-oxidized microparticles did not reduce cell viability significantly. We found evidence for the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by means of the fluorescent probe 2′,7′-dichlorofluorescin. Our results suggest that non-treated porous silicon microparticles produced ROS, which interacted with the components of the cell culture medium, leading to the formation of cytotoxic species. Oxidation of porous silicon microparticles not only mitigated, but also abolished the toxic effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1124-1131
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodegradable materials
  • Microparticles
  • Porous silicon
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys

Cite this