Quantum dots induce heat shock-related cytotoxicity at intracellular environment

Satoshi Migita*, Alexandre Moquin, Hitomi Fujishiro, Seiichiro Himeno, Dusica Maysinger, Françoise M. Winnik, Akiyoshi Taniguchi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Quantum dots (QDs) are semiconductor nanocrystals with unique optical properties. Different proteins or polymers are commonly bound to their surfaces to improve biocompatibility. However, such surface modifications may not provide sufficient protection from cytotoxicity due to photodegradation and oxidative degradation. In this study, the cytotoxic effects of QDs, CdTe, and CdSe/ZnS were investigated using cadmium-resistant cells. CdTe QDs significantly reduced cell viability, whereas, CdSe/ZnS treatment did not markedly decrease the cell number. CdTe QDs were cytotoxic in cadmium-resistant cells suggesting that internalized QDs degraded and cadmium ions contributed to the cytotoxic effects. CdTe QDs were consistently more cytotoxic than CdSe/ZnS QDs, but both QDs as well as cadmium ions activated heat shock protein 70B' promoter. QDs themselves are likely to contribute to HSP70B' promoter activation in cadmium-resistant cells, because CdSe/ZnS QDs do not release sufficient cadmium to activate this promoter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-372
Number of pages6
JournalIn Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Animal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Cadmium
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Heat shock protein (HSP)
  • Nanomaterial
  • Quantum dots (QDs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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