BSA nanoparticles loaded with IONPs for biomedical applications: fabrication optimization, physicochemical characterization and biocompatibility evaluation

Document Type: Research Paper


Protein Research Centre, Shahid Beheshti University, G. C. Velenjak, Tehran, Iran


Objective(s): Cancer diagnosis in its early stages of progress, can enhance the efficiency of treatment utilizing conventional therapy methods. Non-biocompatibility of iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) has made a big challenge against their usage as a contrast agent. Efficient coverage by biomolecules such as albumin can be a solution to overcome this problem. Herein, albumin-coated IONPs were prepared and the process was optimized using the response surface methodology (RSM) to achieve optimum loading of IONPs in albumin nanoparticles.
Materials and Methods: IONPs were incorporated into bovine serum albumin nanoparticles (BSA NPs) matrix, to yield IONPs-BSA NPs. The resulting nanoparticles were characterized physicochemically by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), dynamic light scattering (DLS), inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and vibrating sample magnetometer (VSM). The stability test was conducted over 6 months.
Results: Under optimum conditions of 2.28 mg for iron weight and pH 9.21, loading of 7.76% was obtained for the spherical IONPs-BSA NPs with the size of 177±12 nm, PDI of 0.222±0.07 and zeta-potential of -36.4±2.3 mV. These findings revealed that more than 90% and 60% of the particles retained their size over four and six months of storage at 4 °C, respectively. In addition, non-cytotoxicity and hemocompatibility of IONPs-BSA NPs were verified in vitro thereby offering them as a biocompatible contrast agent for cancer diagnosis.
Conclusion: The IONPs-BSA NPs developed in this study are promising to be further investigated and functionalized with a ligand to obtain a targetable MRI contrast agent for early cancer diagnosis.


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