ROS-induced toxicity: exposure of 3T3, RAW264.7, and MCF7 cells to superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles results in cell death by mitochondria-dependent apoptosis

Hui Chen Hsieh, Chung Ming Chen, Wen Yuan Hsieh, Ching Yun Chen, Chia Ching Liu, Feng Huei Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Superparamagnetic nanoparticles (Fe3O4, SPIO) have been used as magnetic resonance imaging enhancers for years. However, bio-safety issues concerning nanoparticles remain largely unexplored. Of particular concern is the possible cellular impact of nanoparticles during SPIO uptake and subsequent oxidative stress. SPIO causes cell death by apoptosis via a little understood mitochondrial pathway. To more closely examine this process, three kinds of cells—3T3, RAW264.7, and MCF7—were treated with SPIO coated with polyethylene glycol (SPIO-PEG) and monitored by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), using cytotoxicity evaluation, mitochondrial activity, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, and Annexin V assay. TEM revealed that SPIO-PEG nanoparticles surrounded the cellular endosome membrane, creating a bulge in the endosome. Compared to 3T3 cells, greater numbers of SPIO-PEG nanoparticles infiltrated the mitochondria of RAW264.7 and MCF7 cells. SPIO-PEG residency is associated with boosted ROS, with elevated levels of mitochondrial activity, and advancement of cell apoptosis. Furthermore, correlation analysis showed that a polynomial model demonstrates a better fit than a linear model in MCF7, implying that cytotoxicity may have alternative impacts on cell death at different concentrations. Thus, we believe that MCF7 cell death results from the apoptosis pathway triggered by mitochondria, and we find lower cytotoxicity in 3T3. We propose that optimal levels of SPIO-PEG nanoparticles lead to increased levels of ROS and a resulting oxidative stress environment which will kill only cancer cells while sparing normal cells. This finding has great potential for use in cancer therapies in the future.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2015

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Environmental and health effects
  • Iron oxide
  • Mitochondria
  • ROS
  • Superparamagnetic

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