Open Access Open Badges Nano Express

The cytotoxicity evaluation of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles on human aortic endothelial cells

Gaoyuan Ge12, Hengfang Wu2, Fei Xiong3, Yu Zhang3, Zhirui Guo4, Zhiping Bian1, Jindan Xu2, Chunrong Gu1, Ning Gu3, Xiangjian Chen1* and Di Yang2*

Author affiliations

1 Research Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 300 Guangzhou Road, Nanjing 210029, China

2 Department of Cardiology, First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 300 Guangzhou Road, Nanjing 210029, China

3 State Key Laboratory of Molecule and Biomolecule Electronics, Jiangsu Provincial Laboratory for Biomaterials and Devices, Southeast University, Nanjing, 210009, China

4 Second Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, 210011, China

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:215  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-215

Published: 7 May 2013


One major obstacle for successful application of nanoparticles in medicine is its potential nanotoxicity on the environment and human health. In this study, we evaluated the cytotoxicity effect of dimercaptosuccinic acid-coated iron oxide (DMSA-Fe2O3) using cultured human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs). Our results showed that DMSA-Fe2O3 in the culture medium could be absorbed into HAECs, and dispersed in the cytoplasm. The cytotoxicity effect of DMSA-Fe2O3 on HAECs was dose-dependent, and the concentrations no more than 0.02 mg/ml had little toxic effect which were revealed by tetrazolium dye assay. Meanwhile, the cell injury biomarker, lactate dehydrogenase, was not significantly higher than that from control cells (without DMSA-Fe2O3). However, the endocrine function for endothelin-1 and prostacyclin I-2, as well as the urea transporter function, was altered even without obvious evidence of cell injury in this context. We also showed by real-time PCR analysis that DMSA-Fe2O3 exposure resulted in differential effects on the expressions of pro- and anti-apoptosis genes of HAECs. Meanwhile, it was noted that DMSA-Fe2O3 exposure could activate the expression of genes related to oxidative stress and adhesion molecules, which suggested that inflammatory response might be evoked. Moreover, we demonstrated by in vitro endothelial tube formation that even a small amount of DMSA-Fe2O3 (0.01 and 0.02 mg/ml) could inhibit angiogenesis by the HAECs. Altogether, these results indicate that DMSA-Fe2O3 have some cytotoxicity that may cause side effects on normal endothelial cells.

Magnetic nanoparticles; Iron oxide; Endothelial cells; Cell viability; Angiogenesis