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Whilst the formation of plastic nanoparticles (nanoplastics) from plastic wastes has been unequivocally evidenced, little is known about the effects of these materials on living organisms at the subcellular or molecular levels. In the present contribution we show through molecular dynamics simulations that polyethylene nanoparticles dissolve in the hydrophobic core of lipid bilayers into a network of disentangled, single polymeric chains. The thereby induced structural and dynamic changes in the bilayer alter vital functions of the cell membrane, which if lacking a mechanism to decompose the polymer chains may result in the death of the cell. © 2019 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.


Oldamur Hollóczki, Sascha Gehrke. Can Nanoplastics Alter Cell Membranes? Chemphyschem : a European journal of chemical physics and physical chemistry. 2020 Jan 03;21(1):9-12

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PMID: 31483076

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