Sodium fluoride-based β-NaLnF4 nanoparticles (NPs) doped with lanthanide ions are promising materials for application as luminescent markers in bio-imaging. In this work, the effect of NPs doped with yttrium (Y), gadolinium (Gd), europium (Eu), thulium (Tm), ytterbium (Yb) and terbium (Tb) ions on phagocytic activity of monocytes and granulocytes and the respiratory burst was examined. The surface functionalization of <10-nm NPs was performed according to our variation of patent pending ligand exchange method that resulted in meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) molecules on their surface. Y-core-based NCs were doped with Eu ions, which enabled them to be excited with UV light wavelengths. Cultures of human peripheral blood (n = 8) were in vitro treated with five different concentrations of eight NPs for 24 h. In summary, neither type of nanoparticles is found toxic with respect to conducted test; however, some cause toxic effects (they have statistically significant deviations compared to reference) in some selected doses tested. Both core types of NPs (Y-core and Gd-core) impaired the phagocytic activity of monocytes the strongest, having minimal or none whatsoever influence on granulocytes and respiratory burst of phagocytic cells. The lowest toxicity was observed in Gd-core, Yb, Tm dopants and near-infrared nanoparticles. Clear dose-dependent effect of NPs on phagocytic activity of leukocytes and respiratory burst of cells was observed for limited number of samples.
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