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Nowadays, iron oxide nanoparticles have a great potential for being used in several
areas of medicine, namely in drug delivery, cancer therapy and as contrast agents
in imagiologic techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging. However, the studies
assessing the toxicity of these nanoparticles to the human health are scarce.
Neutrophils are the first line of innate defense of the organism, and are essential in
the defense of the organism against pro-inflammatory foreign bodies. Therefore, the aim
of this study was to evaluate the effect of super paramagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles
(magnetite form) on human neutrophils, namely its capacity to induce deleterious effects
in these cells.
For this purpose, necrotic cell death was measured by the trypan blue assay and
lactate dehydrogenase leakage, apoptosis was evaluated by morphologic analysis,
and the putative effect on mitochondrial membrane potential by using the probe
3,3?-dihexyloxacarbocyanine iodide. Finally, the modulation of the neutrophils? oxidative
burst was studied using the probes dihydrorhodamine 123 and 2?,7?-dichlorofluorescein-
diacetate. The obtained results suggest that these nanoparticles have the ability to
accelerate the neutrophils? apoptotic process. Thus, these results could have important
implications in the innate defense of the organism, during the above mentioned
application of iron oxide nanoparticles for medical purposes.
Diana Couto, PharmD, is a PhD student at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto, Portugal
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