Nanozymes: Biomedical Applications of Enzymatic Fe3O4 Nanoparticles from In Vitro to In Vivo

  • Lizeng Gao
  • Xiyun YanEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1174)


Fe3O4, also called magnetite, is a naturally occurring mineral and has been widely used in biomedical applications. However, in the past, all the applications were based on its excellent magnetic properties and neglected its catalytic properties. In 2007, we found that Fe3O4 nanoparticles are able to perform intrinsic enzyme-like activities. A specific term, “nanozyme”, is used to describe the new property of intrinsic enzymatic activity of nanomaterials. Since then, Fe3O4 nanoparticles have been used as enzyme mimics, which broadens their applications beyond simply their magnetic properties, with applications in biomedical diagnosis and therapy, environmental monitoring and treatment, the food industry and chemical synthesis. In this chapter, we will summarize the basic features of Fe3O4 as an enzyme mimetic and its applications in biomedicine.


Nanozymes Enzyme-like activity Enzyme mimetic Fe3O4 Biomedical application 



2, 2′-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonic acid)


Alzheimer’s disease




Carbon nanotube


3, 3′-Diaminobenzidine


Ebola virus


Enhanced permeability and retention


Magnetite or iron oxide


Graphene oxide


Glucose oxidase


Hydrogen peroxide


Human chorionic gonadotropin


Human heavy-chain ferritin


Horseradish peroxidase


Magnetoferritin nanoparticles


Magnetic nanoparticles


Magnetic resonance imaging


Staphylococcus aureus










Parkinson’s disease


Polyethylene glycol


Reticuloendothelial system


Reduced graphene oxide


Reactive oxygen species


3, 3′, 5, 5′-Tetramethylbenzidine



This work was supported in part by the Foundation of the Thousand Talents Plan for Young Professionals and Jiangsu Specially-Appointed Professor, the Interdisciplinary Funding at Yangzhou University, Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. XDA09030306), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31530026 and 81671810), Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu (Grant No. BK20161333).


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Translational Medicine, School of MedicineYangzhou UniversityYangzhouChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Protein and Peptide PharmaceuticalInstitute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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