What are our evaluation criteria?

Data Mentioned but not shown Do not support the conclusions
Figures Values or units  Similarity Duplication Resolution Label
Mechanisms of detection Calibration Limit of detection Endosomal escape
Methodology Materials preparation Characterization
Nanoparticles size DLS  TEM 
References Miscitation  No citation  Primary sources  Citation error

Specification of the evaluation criteria

Articles lacking a discussion of endosomal escape

             In the field of bionanoscience, several articles report the use of nanoparticles for intracellular sensing (viz. mRNAs, various ions, pH changes, and others). However, nanoparticles generally enter the cell by endocytosis. Many of those publications lack an explanation about the internalisation mechanism, and, crucially, endosomal escape. Indeed, to achieve the purpose of detection of cytosolic targets inside cells, the nanoparticles must escape the endosomes. In most articles that we have analysed so far this issue is ignored.

Here you can find a list of our comment on articles that report intracellular sensing with nanoparticles but do not discuss the endosomal escape of the nanomaterials.


Mentioned but not shown                                                                                                                                        Some techniques are mentioned in the methodology or results, but the data are not shown in the full text, nor in the supporting information.

Do not support the conclusions


Values or units                                                                                                                                                               The units or values of X-axis and Y-axis are not shown.                                                                           The values in the axis do not match the ticks.

Similarity                                                                                                                                                                          Data from different samples or conditions are more similar than would be expected.

Magnification and resolution                                                                                                                              The magnification or resolution is too low to draw conclusions, e.g. on precise intracellular localisation of nanoparticles.

Label                                                                                                                                                                              Errors in the text of the labels or confusing definitions.

Mechanisms of detection

Calibration                                                                                                                                                                      Lack of calibration or calibration that raises questions (e.g. binding equilibrium does not follow what would be expected from thermodynamics).

Limit of detection                                                                                                                                                  LOD is not calculated; or the experiments or calculations raise questions.

Endosomal escape                                                                                                                                                      There is no proof of nanomaterials endosomal escape.


Materials preparation                                                                                                                          Reproducing the experiments would be difficult because specifications are missing regarding the preparation or procurement of materials.

Characterization                                                                                                                              Characterization of materials is incomplete or lacking.

Nanoparticles size


When claiming the nanoparticles hydrodynamic diameter, for more precise conclusions we suggest the following issues to be corrected:

    • The size distribution is not shown.
    • The average size of multimodal data is reported. In such cases, the discussion should make clear that different size populations were observed, and state the average of each population, not of the sample.
    • It is not clear whether the distribution represents the intensity of light, number or volume of particles. (For more precise claiming of the nanomaterials size, this should be indicated, because many times only one population of particles is seen in the number or volume data, but actually the intensity shows a multimodal distribution. Further, number and volume can only be considered when the quality of the data are adequate, which means good correlation function and low PdI. For more information, please check Intensity-Volume-Number: Which size is correct?. Please note this comes from a company, and additional references will be provided as soon as possible).

TEM                                                                                                                                                                              The physical size is given, but the distribution is not provided and there is no detail about the statistics.                                                                                                                                                                   The physical size is given but only a few nanoparticles can be seen in the micrographs.          The stability of the nanomaterials is claimed but aggregates are present in the micrographs.


Miscitation                                                                                                                                                                The citation is not related to or does not support the claim. In some cases the citation supports an idea or fact opposite to what it is stated in the publication we are analysing.

No citation                                                                                                                                                                  An important claim is made mentioning sentences as “previous works” or “it is discussed” but no reference is cited at the end of the sentence.

Primary sources                                                                                                                                                    Reviews or other secondary sources are cited instead of the original work.

Citation error                                                                                                                                                              The cited work is from an author different from the one mentioned in the text.

Other remarks                                                                                                                                                                      The concerns which are not classified in the grid, but still relevant according to us.

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