Size dependent biodistribution and toxicokinetics of iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles in mice†
In spite of the immense benefits from iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles (IOMNs), there is scanty information regarding their metabolic activities and toxicity in vivo. In this study, we investigated the size dependent in vivo biodistribution, toxicokinetics, and toxicity and gene expression changes of various sizes of carboxyl coated IOMNs (diameters of 10, 20, 30, and 40 nm). Our findings demonstrated that the various sizes of IOMNs accumulated primarily in the liver and spleen on the first day post-injection. Interestingly, size dependent biodistribution and transport were observed: the smallest IOMNs (10 nm) showed the highest uptake by the liver, whereas the largest IOMNs (40 nm) showed the highest uptake by the spleen. Moreover, the IOMNs with the smallest size (10 nm) were cleared faster from the liver and kidneys, but more readily entered the brain and the uterus. IOMNs with the largest size (40 nm) accumulated more readily but were easily eliminated in the spleen. However, the level of iron in the heart decreased in all IOMN exposed groups. In addition, blood biochemistry, hematological analyses and histological examination demonstrated that there was no apparent acute toxicity caused by IOMNs in mice. However, smaller IOMNs (10 nm and 20 nm) more effectively changed the expression level of sensitive genes related to oxidant stress, iron transport, metabolic process, apoptosis, and others.