AAPS PharmSciTech

, 20:55 | Cite as

The Impact of Serum Proteins and Surface Chemistry on Magnetic Nanoparticle Colloidal Stability and Cellular Uptake in Breast Cancer Cells

  • Wid Mekseriwattana
  • Supreeya Srisuk
  • Ruttanaporn Kriangsaksri
  • Nuttawee Niamsiri
  • Kanlaya PrapainopEmail author
Research Article


Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) have been extensively studied in biomedical applications for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes. Stability is one of the key determinants dictating successful application of these nanoparticles (NPs) in biological systems. In this study, SPIONs were synthesized and coated with two protective shells—poly(methacrylic acid) (PMAA) or citric acid (CA)—and the stability was evaluated in biologically relevant media together with effect of serum protein supplementation. The stabilities of SPION, SPION-PMAA and SPION-CA in water, DMEM, RPMI, DMEM with 10% (v v−1), and RPMI with 10% (v v−1) fetal bovine serum were determined. Without protective shells, the NPs were not stable and formed large aggregates in all media tested. CA improved the stability of the NPs in water, but was not very effective in improving stability in cell culture media. Addition of serum slightly improved colloidal stability of SPION-CA, whereas inclusion of serum significantly improved the colloidal stability of SPION-PMAA. Serum proteins also found to enhance cellular viability of MCF-7 breast cancer cells after exposure to high concentrations of SPION-PMAA and SPION-CA. Different patterns of serum proteins binding to the NPs were observed, and cellular uptake in MCF-7 cells were investigated. The stabilized SPION-PMAA and SPION-CA NPs showed uptake activity with minimal background attachment. Therefore, the importance of colloidal stability of SPIONs for utilizing in future therapeutic or diagnostic purposes is illustrated.

Key Words

superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle biological media colloidal stability cancer cell 


Funding Information

This project was supported by Mahidol University and the Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, and the Thailand Research Fund (IRG5980008, RTA5980001, MRG5980041). WM was supported by a Science Achievement Scholarship of Thailand. This project was partially supported by a CIF grant, Center of Nanoimaging and DKSH Center of Excellence, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Materials Science and Innovation, Faculty of ScienceMahidol UniversityBangkokThailand
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of ScienceMahidol UniversityBangkokThailand
  3. 3.Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of ScienceMahidol UniversityBangkokThailand

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