J Nanobiotechnology. 2022 Dec 28;20(1):543. doi: 10.1186/s12951-022-01747-5.
BACKGROUND: The surface coating of iron oxide magnetic nanoparticle (MNPs) drives their intracellular trafficking and degradation in endolysosomes, as well as dictating other cellular outcomes. As such, we assessed whether MNP coatings might influence their biodistribution, their accumulation in certain organs and their turnover therein, processes that must be understood in vivo to optimize the design of nanoformulations for specific therapeutic/diagnostic needs.
RESULTS: In this study, three different MNP coatings were analyzed, each conferring the identical 12 nm iron oxide cores with different physicochemical characteristics: 3-aminopropyl-triethoxysilane (APS), dextran (DEX), and dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA). When the biodistribution of these MNPs was analyzed in C57BL/6 mice, they all mainly accumulated in the spleen and liver one week after administration. The coating influenced the proportion of the MNPs in each organ, with more APS-MNPs accumulating in the spleen and more DMSA-MNPs accumulating in the liver, remaining there until they were fully degraded. The changes in the physicochemical properties of the MNPs (core size and magnetic properties) was also assessed during their intracellular degradation when internalized by two murine macrophage cell lines. The decrease in the size of the MNPs iron core was influenced by their coating and the organ in which they accumulated. Finally, MNP degradation was analyzed in the liver and spleen of C57BL/6 mice from 7 days to 15 months after the last intravenous MNP administration.
CONCLUSIONS: The MNPs degraded at different rates depending on the organ and their coating, the former representing the feature that was fundamental in determining the time they persisted. In the liver, the rate of degradation was similar for all three coatings, and it was faster than in the spleen. This information regarding the influence of coatings on the in vivo degradation of MNPs will help to choose the best coating for each biomedical application depending on the specific clinical requirements.