Many nanoscale biomaterials fail to reach the clinical trial stage due to a poor understanding of the fundamental principles of their in vivo behaviour. Here we describe the transport, transformation and bioavailability of MoS2 nanomaterials through a combination of in vivo experiments and molecular dynamics simulations. We show that after intravenous injection molybdenum is significantly enriched in liver sinusoid and splenic red pulp. This biodistribution is mediated by protein coronas that spontaneously form in the blood, principally with apolipoprotein E. The biotransformation of MoS2 leads to incorporation of molybdenum into molybdenum enzymes, which increases their specific activities in the liver, affecting its metabolism. Our findings reveal that nanomaterials undergo a protein corona-bridged transport–transformation–bioavailability chain in vivo, and suggest that nanomaterials consisting of essential trace elements may be converted into active biological molecules that organisms can exploit. Our results also indicate that the long-term biotransformation of nanomaterials may have an impact on liver metabolism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Biomedical Engineering
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering