The increasing use of gold nanoparticles in medical diagnosis and treatment has raised the concern over their blood compatibility. The interactions of nanoparticles with blood components may lead to platelet aggregation and endothelial
dysfunction. Therefore, medical applications of gold nanoparticles call for increased nanoparticle stability and biocompatibility. Functionalisation of nanoparticles with polythelene glycol (PEGylation) is known to modulate cell-particle interactions. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to investigate the effects of PEGylated-gold nanoparticles on human platelet function and endothelial cells in vitro. Gold nanoparticles, 15 nm in diameter, were synthesised in water using
sodium citrate as a reducing and stabilising agent. Functionalised polyethylene glycol-based thiol polymers were used to
coat and stabilise pre-synthesised gold nanoparticles. The interaction of gold nanoparticles-citrate and PEGylated-gold
nanoparticles with human platelets was measured by Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation. Platelet-nanoparticles
interaction was imaged using phase-contrast, scanning and transmission electron microscopy. The inflammatory effects of gold nanoparticles-citrate and PEGylated-gold nanoparticles in endothelial cells were measured by quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction. PEGylated-gold nanoparticles were stable under physiological conditions and PEGylated-gold nanoparticles-5400 and PEGylated-gold nanoparticles-10800 did not affect platelet aggregation as measured by Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation. In addition, PEGylated-gold nanoparticles did not induce an inflammatory response when incubated with endothelial cells. Therefore, this study shows that PEGylated-gold nanoparticles with a higher molecular weight of the polymer chain are both platelet- and endothelium-compatible making them attractive candidates for biomedical applications.