Apparently, the silver from the nanoparticles can penetrate the cell wall of bacteria and kill them from the inside. Why, then, doesn't the same happen to human cells, e.g. the skin on my foot when I wear nanosilver-coated antibacterial socks, or the stomach lining when people drink nanosilver-treated water? Is it because the cell wall is different in bacteria than in multicellular organisms?


1 Answer 1

  1. The nanoparticles from your sock will most certainly not reach to your foots cell membrane (Walls are for plants/fungi) because of the thick layer of dead skin, oils, than about 30 cell thick cornified layer (stratum corneum) build up from practically dead cells (with no nuclei or organelles) but lots of filamentous keratine. This is the most outer shell of your epidermis followed by layers and layers of 4 other tissue types , then comes the "actual" skin dermis and the hypodermis beneath.

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  1. If some of the silver-sock -nanoparticles would actually make it through there to basal tissue and reach the cells plasmamembrane, they enter via endocytosis, and start to release Ag+ they break all kinds of things, because Ag+ is cytotoxic it induces ROS, damages you Mitochondira, disturb some pathways... you get the point.

  2. However this was proven to happen within human in vitro celllines.

a few in vivo studies showed that Ag-NPs cause adverse effects on reproduction, malformations, and morphological deformities indifferent non-mammalian animal model.

Says "Review: A systematic review on silver nanoparticles-induced cytotoxicity: Physicochemical properties and perspectives


  • $\begingroup$ conclusion, definitely enough evidence to be suspicious, but don't freak out, just change socks daily, wash feet and don't drink dubious solutions or liquids. (sunscreen could be a factor ) $\endgroup$ Feb 13, 2021 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not freaking out, just wondering. :) So, in the case of skin contact, I'm protected by a layer of dead skin, OK. But there are disinfectant sprays with nanosilver, meant to be applied to open wounds. And disinfected water that goes to your stomach. Is it actually killing both bacteria and your cells, but you're fine because your cells get replaced? Or what's the idea? $\endgroup$
    – vashekcz
    Feb 15, 2021 at 0:14

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