Uptake of dimercaptosuccinate-coated magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles by cultured brain astrocytes
Magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (Fe-NP) are currently considered for various diagnostic and therapeutic applications in the brain. However, little is known on the accumulation and biocompatibility of such particles in brain cells. We have synthesized and characterized dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) coated Fe-NP and have investigated their uptake by cultured brain astrocytes. DMSA-coated Fe-NP that were dispersed in physiological medium had an average hydrodynamic diameter of about 60nm. Incubation of cultured astrocytes with these Fe-NP caused a time-and concentration-dependent accumulation of cellular iron, but did not lead within 6h to any cell toxicity. After 4h of incubation with 100-4000 M iron supplied as Fe-NP, the cellular iron content reached levels between 200 and 2000 nmolmg-1 protein. The cellular iron content after exposure of astrocytes to Fe-NP at 4 °C was drastically lowered compared to cells that had been incubated at 37 °C. Electron microscopy reveal ed the presence of Fe-NP-containing vesicles in cells that were incubated with Fe-NP at 37 °C, but not in cells exposed to the nanoparticles at 4 °C. These data demonstrate that cultured astrocytes efficiently take up DMSA-coated Fe-NP in a process that appears to be saturable and strongly depends on the incubation temperature.