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Cellular Uptake, Stability, and Safety of Hollow Carbon Sphere-Protected Fe3O4 Nanoparticles

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Magnetic iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticles (NPs) have attracted extensive attentions in biomedical fields such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, the instability and unfavorable dispersity of bare Fe3O4 NPs is a challenge for biomedical applications. Herein, we proposed a strategy using hollow carbon sphere (HCS) as a shell structure to endow Fe3O4 NPs better stability, dispersity, as well as biocompatibility. To verify intracellular behaviors and biosafety of HCSdecorated Fe3O4 nanoparticles (Fe3O4@HCS NPs), the assessment of cellular effects of these NPs based on synchrotron radiation-based techniques were done to explore detailed interaction between Fe3O4@HCS NPs and liver cells, HepG2. We found that a large number of NPs were internalized by cells in a time-dependent manner determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), which was further supported by intracellular accumulation of iron via X-ray fluorescence (XRF) imaging. Moreover, confocal imaging showed that these NPs mainly located in the lysosomes where they remained stable and undissolved within 72 hours, which was verified by chemical form characterization of iron via Fe K-edge X-ray adsorption near edge structure (XANES). With the coating shell of HCS, the release of iron ions was prevented even in acidic lysosome and the integrity of lysosomal membrane remained unchanged during the storage of NPs. As a result, Fe3O4@HCS NPs exhibited low level of oxidative stress and induced negligible cytotoxicity towards HepG2 cells. Based on the powerful techniques, we demonstrated that the carbon outer layer provides a physical barrier that helps remain excellent properties of magnetic Fe3O4 NPs and good dispersity, chemical stability, as well as biocompatibility for potential applications in biomedical fields.
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Keywords: Biosafety Assessment; Chemical Forms; Hollow Carbon Nanospheres; Magnetic Fe3O4 Nanoparticles; X-ray Fluorescence

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: CAS Key Laboratory for Biomedical Effects of Nanomaterials & Nanosafety, and CAS Center for Excellence in Nanoscience, National Center for Nanoscience and Technology of China and Institute of High Energy Physics, Beijing 100190, China 2: Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility, Shanghai Advanced Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201204, China 3: State Key Laboratory of Fine Chemicals, School of Chemical Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China

Publication date: April 1, 2020

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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