Corneal therapeutic molecules delivery represents a promising solution to maintain human corneal endothelial cells (HCECs) viability, but the difficulty is transport across cell membrane. A new delivery method published recently consists in ephemerally permeabilizing cell membranes using a photo-acoustic reaction produced by carbon nanoparticles (CNPs) and femtosecond laser (FsL). The aim of this work is to investigate the size of pores formed at cell membrane by this technique. To induce cell permeabilization, HCECs were put in contact with CNPs and irradiated with a 500 µm diameter Ti:Sa FsL focalized spot. Four sizes of marker molecules were delivered into HCECs to investigate pore sizes: calcein (1.2 nm), FITC-Dextran 4kDa (2.8 nm) and FITC-Dextran 70kDa (12 nm) and FITC-Dextran 2MDa (50 nm). Delivery of each molecule was assessed by flow cytometry, a technique able to measure their presence into cells. We showed that the delivery rate was dependent of their size. Calcein was delivered in 56.1±8.2% of HCECs, FITC-Dextran 4kDa in 42.2±3.5%, FITC-Dextran 70 kDa in 21.5±2.7% and finally FITC-Dextran 2MDa in 12.9±2.0%. It means that a large number of pores in the size ranging from 1.2 to 2.8 nm were formed. However, 12 nm and larger pores were almost half more infrequent. Pore sizes formed at cell membrane by the technique of cell permeabilization by FsL activated CNPs was investigated. The results indicated that the pore sizes are large enough for the efficient delivery of small, medium and big therapeutics molecules on HCECs by this technique.
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