Functionalization of mesoporous silica nanoparticles with a cell-penetrating peptide to target mammalian sperm in vitro.
Barkalina N., Jones C., Townley H., Coward K.
AIM: This study aimed to investigate the effects of actively targeting mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNPs) toward mammalian sperm with a cell-penetrating peptide (C105Y), with subsequent analysis of binding rates and nano-safety profiles. MATERIALS & METHODS: Boar sperm were exposed in vitro to C105Y-functionalized MSNPs or free C105Y, in a series of increasing doses for up to 2 h, followed by the evaluation of sperm motility, kinematic parameters, acrosome morphology, MSNP-sperm binding and cell fluorescence levels. RESULTS: C105Y-functionalized MSNPs preserved their biocompatibility with sperm, and exhibited an approximately fourfold increase in affinity toward gametes, compared with unmodified MSNPs, during the early stages of incubation. CONCLUSION: Our findings support the application of MSNPs and active targeting to sperm as valuable tools for reproductive biology.