Theranostics 2020; 10(20):8996-9031. doi:10.7150/thno.45413

Review

Silver nanoparticles: Synthesis, medical applications and biosafety

Li Xu1,2,3,4#, Yi-Yi Wang1,2#, Jie Huang1,2,3, Chun-Yuan Chen1,2,3, Zhen-Xing Wang1,2,3, Hui Xie1,2,3,5,6,7,8✉

1. Department of Orthopedics, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410008, China.
2. Movement System Injury and Repair Research Center, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410008, China.
3. Xiangya Hospital of Central South University-Amcan Medical Biotechnology Co. Ltd. Joint Research Center, Changsha, Hunan 410008, China.
4. Institute of Reproductive and Stem Cell Engineering, School of Basic Medical Science, Central South University, Changsha 410013, China.
5. Department of Sports Medicine, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410008, China.
6. Hunan Key Laboratory of Organ Injury, Aging and Regenerative Medicine, Changsha, Hunan 410008, China.
7. Hunan Key Laboratory of Bone Joint Degeneration and Injury, Changsha, Hunan 410008, China.
8. National Clinical Research Center for Geriatric Disorders, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410008, China.
#These authors contributed equally to this work.

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Citation:
Xu L, Wang YY, Huang J, Chen CY, Wang ZX, Xie H. Silver nanoparticles: Synthesis, medical applications and biosafety. Theranostics 2020; 10(20):8996-9031. doi:10.7150/thno.45413. Available from https://www.thno.org/v10p8996.htm

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Abstract

Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) have been one of the most attractive nanomaterials in biomedicine due to their unique physicochemical properties. In this paper, we review the state-of-the-art advances of AgNPs in the synthesis methods, medical applications and biosafety of AgNPs. The synthesis methods of AgNPs include physical, chemical and biological routes. AgNPs are mainly used for antimicrobial and anticancer therapy, and also applied in the promotion of wound repair and bone healing, or as the vaccine adjuvant, anti-diabetic agent and biosensors. This review also summarizes the biological action mechanisms of AgNPs, which mainly involve the release of silver ions (Ag+), generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), destruction of membrane structure. Despite these therapeutic benefits, their biological safety problems such as potential toxicity on cells, tissue, and organs should be paid enough attention. Besides, we briefly introduce a new type of Ag particles smaller than AgNPs, silver Ångstrom (Å, 1 Å = 0.1 nm) particles (AgÅPs), which exhibit better biological activity and lower toxicity compared with AgNPs. Finally, we conclude the current challenges and point out the future development direction of AgNPs.

Keywords: Silver nanoparticles, Silver Ångstrom particles, Synthesis, Antimicrobial, Anticancer, Toxicity, Mechanisms