Pure gold is inert, so it had been assumed that gold nanoparticles would also be harmless. Pure gold nanoparticles are used "in everyday items such as personal care products, as well as drug delivery."
New research reveals that pure gold nanoparticles ... can inhibit adipose (fat) storage and lead to accelerated aging and wrinkling, slowed wound healing and the onset of diabetes.
They discovered that the human adipose-derived stromal cells -- a type of adult stem cells -- were penetrated by the gold nanoparticles almost instantly and that the particles accumulated in the cells with no obvious pathway for elimination. The presence of the particles disrupted multiple cell functions, such as movement; replication (cell division); and collagen contraction; processes that are essential in wound healing.
According to the researchers, the most disturbing finding was that the particles interfered with genetic regulation, RNA expression and inhibited the ability to differentiate into mature adipocytes or fat cells. "Reductions caused by gold nanoparticles can result in systemic changes to the body," said Professor Mironava.
... adult stem cells, which are the cells our body uses for continual organ regeneration. ... involved in regeneration of multiple organs, including skin, nerve, bone, and hair, ignored appropriate cues and failed to differentiate when exposed to nanoparticles. The presence of gold nanoparticles also reduced adiponectin, a protein involved in regulating glucose levels and fatty acid breakdown, which helps to regulate metabolism.