Tsz Wai Rosita Pang is a PhD student at the Retinal & Developmental Neurobiology Laboratory, University of Sydney. Her research aims to find better treatments for Glioblastoma Multiforme, the most common and lethal type of brain tumours, with the use of ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles.


This study investigated the in vitro cytotoxic effects of Ultrasmall Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles (USPIONs) uptake on GBM function. USPIONs with a mean core diameter between 10 – 15 nm were loaded to CNS-1 cells cultures at different concentration (10-200µg/mL) and its cytotoxic effects were assessed in different time-point (2-24hr). Rat CNS-1 was chosen as our GBM model in this study because it was developed to obtain a histocompatible astrocytoma cell line with infiltrative and growth pattern similar to human gliomas. The uptake of USPIONs was analysed using the JEOL1011 transmission electron microscope (TEM) and the iron quantification was assessed using Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (GFAAS). The cell viability and the mitopotential were measured using the MUSE Count & Viability Kit and the MUSE Mitopotential Assay Kit. Bioenergetics was examined using Seahorse Mito Stress Test. TEM showed that USPIONs entered CNS-1 via clatherin coated pits which were then internalized in vacuoles. The biological effects of USPIONs on CNS-1 cell viability and mitopotential were dose and time-dependent. USPIONs at 5-200µg/mL decreased the cell viability of CNS-1 cells at 12 hr (Control: 100%±0, USPIONs: 74.62%±2.11, P <0.05). USPIONs at 10-200µg/mL increased the percentage of total depolarized cells at 12 hr (Control: 0.03±0.01, USPIONs: 0.37±0.12, P <0.05). Through these studies, it deepened our understanding of the cytotoxic effects of USPIONs on GBM function