Since noble metal nanoparticles are increasingly found in consumer goods, there is a need for information about potential impacts of these nanoparticles on cellular function to avoid environmental and health risks associated with exposure. In this study, spherical Au and Ag nanoparticles of similar size were synthesized and modified to assess the effects of ζ-potential on immune cell function. Nanoparticle ζ-potential was controlled by employing surfactant exchange to generate nanoparticles with positive or negative surface charge. Mouse peritoneal mast cells (MPMCs) were then exposed to 5-15 g ml -1 of these nanomaterials, and uptake was assessed by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES). Uptake for positively charged nanoparticles was more efficient than for negatively charged nanomaterials, and all nanoparticles were taken up in a concentration-dependent manner. Following uptake, MPMC degranulation function was assessed using carbon-fiber microelectrode amperometry (CFMA), showing decreased quantal secretion of serotonin by MPMCs exposed to the positively charged Au nanoparticles and negatively charged Ag nanoparticles. The overall efficiency of the degranulation process (indicated by amperometric spike frequency) decreased for all Au-exposed MPMCs. However, only the negatively charged version of the Ag nanomaterial resulted in decreased MPMC degranulation efficiency. Further studies revealed that ionic Ag was partially responsible for the observed effects. Overall, these studies reveal the complex nature of interactions between noble metal nanomaterials and cells that result in perturbed cellular function and illustrate the necessity of thorough nanoparticle characterization for interpretation of cellular function assays.