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Scientific Reports








Ball-milling utilizes mechanical stress to modify properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) including size, capping, and functionalization. Ball-milling, however, may introduce structural defects resulting in altered CNT-biomolecule interactions. Nanomaterial-biomolecule interactions result in the formation of the biocorona (BC), which alters nanomaterial properties, function, and biological responses. The formation of the BC is governed by the nanomaterial physicochemical properties and the physiological environment. Underlying disease states such as cardiovascular disease can alter the biological milieu possibly leading to unique BC identities. In this ex vivo study, we evaluated variations in the formation of the BC on single-walled CNTs (SWCNTs) due to physicochemical alterations in structure resulting from ball-milling and variations in the environment due to the high-cholesterol disease state. Increased ball-milling time of SWCNTs resulted in enhanced structural defects. Following incubation in normal mouse serum, label-free quantitative proteomics identified differences in the biomolecular content of the BC due to the ball-milling process. Further, incubation in cholesterol-rich mouse serum resulted in the formation of unique BCs compared to SWCNTs incubated in normal serum. Our study demonstrates that the BC is modified due to physicochemical modifications such as defects induced by ball-milling and physiological disease conditions, which may result in variable biological responses.


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