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Synthesis and Cytotoxicity of Y2O3 Nanoparticles of Various Morphologies

Tamar Andelman12, Simon Gordonov2, Gabrielle Busto2, Prabhas V Moghe23 and Richard E Riman12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, 607 Taylor Road, Piscataway, NJ, 08854, USA

2 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, 599 Taylor Road, Piscataway, NJ, 08854, USA

3 Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, 98 Brett Road, Piscataway, NJ, 08854, USA

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2009, 5:263-273  doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9445-0

Published: 24 November 2009


As the field of nanotechnology continues to grow, evaluating the cytotoxicity of nanoparticles is important in furthering their application within biomedicine. Here, we report the synthesis, characterization, and cytotoxicity of nanoparticles of different morphologies of yttrium oxide, a promising material for biological imaging applications. Nanoparticles of spherical, rod-like, and platelet morphologies were synthesized via solvothermal and hydrothermal methods and characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), light scattering, surface area analysis, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and zeta potential measurements. Nanoparticles were then tested for cytotoxicity with human foreskin fibroblast (HFF) cells, with the goal of elucidating nanoparticle characteristics that influence cytotoxicity. Cellular response was different for the different morphologies, with spherical particles exhibiting no cytotoxicity to HFF cells, rod-like particles increasing cell proliferation, and platelet particles markedly cytotoxic. However, due to differences in the nanoparticle chemistry as determined through the characterization techniques, it is difficult to attribute the cytotoxicity responses to the particle morphology. Rather, the cytotoxicity of the platelet sample appears due to the stabilizing ligand, oleylamine, which was present at higher levels in this sample. This study demonstrates the importance of nanoparticle chemistry on in vitro cytotoxicity, and highlights the general importance of thorough nanoparticle characterization as a prerequisite to understanding nanoparticle cytotoxicity.

Yttrium oxide; Y2O3; Nanoparticle synthesis; Nanoparticle toxicity; Morphology control