International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Jan 2022)

Nanomechanical Atomic Force Microscopy to Probe Cellular Microplastics Uptake and Distribution

  • Farida Akhatova,
  • Ilnur Ishmukhametov,
  • Gölnur Fakhrullina,
  • Rawil Fakhrullin

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 23, no. 2
p. 806


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The concerns regarding microplastics and nanoplastics pollution stimulate studies on the uptake and biodistribution of these emerging pollutants in vitro. Atomic force microscopy in nanomechanical PeakForce Tapping mode was used here to visualise the uptake and distribution of polystyrene spherical microplastics in human skin fibroblast. Particles down to 500 nm were imaged in whole fixed cells, the nanomechanical characterization allowed for differentiation between internalized and surface attached plastics. This study opens new avenues in microplastics toxicity research.