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The mechanism is not entirely clear. It was thought that aggregation was at least in part involved. However, recent studies appear to refute this, suggesting that it is the presence of proteins on the surface of the particle that reduced its toxicity. In marked contrast to serum-containing medium, in serum-free medium concentrations of nano-Silicon Dioxide above a threshold of 1 μg/ml caused rapid and extensive cell damage, with a steep concentration-effect relationship. DLS analysis under such conditions also indicated agglomeration and sedimentation of nano-SiO2 particles. Neither 10% nor 0% serum was suitable for studying the potential effects of nano-SiO2 on the proteome of the cells, as in one case there was no evidence of an adverse effect and in the other cytotoxicity occurred too rapidly for any proteomic response to manifest. 

Consequently, the quantity of serum in the medium was varied and an amount established (1.25%) that allowed a cytotoxic effect of treatment with 100 μg/ml nano-Silicon Dioxide to occur over a period of time, the cells ultimately dying from apoptosis, as shown by flow cytometric analysis. Prior to this, changes in the cell proteome should become established and measureable. Indeed, under such conditions the profile of expressed proteins in A549 cells was altered. The function of many of the proteins affected appeared to be linked. Indeed, it proved possible to classify these proteins into four main groups that suggest plausible pathways of affected biological processes. These processes were those involved in the regulation of apoptosis, the unfolded protein response, structural organisation of the cell and protein synthesis.

Experts believe that the nano-Silicon Dioxide hydroxide flame combustion synthesis, and flocculation reactor combustion and other key equipment and application of innovative technology, reached the international advanced level on the overall results, which in the pre-mixing of new reactors and auxiliary burner fluidized bed off the two core technologies acid reached the international advanced level, to break through the blockade of international technology of great value. But generally speaking, China's production and application of nano-SiO2 is still behind developed countries, research work in this area has yet to be a breakthrough.



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