Characterization of an active ingredient made of nanoscale iron(oxyhydr)oxide for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia†
Kidney disease is one of the main non-communicable diseases. Every year millions of people worldwide die from kidney dysfunction. One cause is disturbances in the mineral metabolism, such as abnormally high phosphate concentrations in the blood, medically referred to as hyperphosphatemia. A new active ingredient based on nanoscale iron(oxyhydr)oxide with particle sizes below 3 nm surrounded by an organic coating has been developed for a more effective treatment. The examination of the structural properties of these particles within this study promises to gain further insights into this improved effectiveness. More than half of the active ingredient consists of organic substances, the rest is mostly iron(oxyhydr)oxide. Analyzes by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), and dynamic light scattering (DLS) show that the organic molecules act as stabilizers and lead to ultrasmall iron(oxyhydr)oxide cores with a size of 1.0–2.8 nm. The nanoparticles coated with the organic molecules have an average size of 11.7 nm. At 4.2 K, the nanoparticles display a magnetic hyperfine field of 45.5 T in the Mössbauer spectrum, which is unusually low for iron(oxyhydr)oxide. The material is also not ferrimagnetic. Combining these results and taking into account the composition of the nanoparticles, we identify low crystalline ferrihydrite as the most likely phase in the iron(oxyhydr)oxide nuclei. At the same time, we want to emphasize that a final identification of the crystal structure in iron(oxyhydr)oxides can be impeded by ultrasmall particle sizes. In summary, by a combinatorial characterization, we are able to observe extraordinary properties of the ultrasmall nanomaterial, which is the basis for the investigation of the high phosphate-binding efficacy of this active ingredient.