Drug Discov Ther. 2013;7(3):116-123. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2013.v7.3.116)

Evaluation of in vitro mutagenicity and genotoxicity of magnetite nanoparticles.

Gomaa IO, Kader MHA, Salah TA, Heikal OA


For successful application of nanomaterials in bioscience, it is essential to understand the biological fate and potential toxicity of nanoparticles. The aim of this study is to evaluate the genetic safety of magnetite nanoparticles (MNPs) (Fe3O4) in order to provide their diverse applications in life sciences, such as drug development, protein detection, and gene delivery. Concentrations of 10 ppm, 30 ppm, and 70 ppm (10-70 μg/mL) of the MNPs of 8.0 ± 2.0 nm were used. Characterization of MNPs was done with transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-Ray Diffractometry (XRD) and a vibrating sample magnetometer (VSM). The MNPs mutagenic potential was evaluated using the Salmonella Ames test with Salmonella strains TA100, TA2638, TA102, and TA98 in the presence and the absence of metabolic activation with S9-liver extract. Genetic mutations at the chromosomal level and extent of DNA damage using the alkaline Comet assay were applied to peripheral blood lymphocytes and HEK-293 cell lines respectively. There were significant changes in the results of the Salmonella mutagenicity test at the 70 ppm concentration of MNPs which might reflect their mutagenic activity at higher concentrations. Cytogenetic evaluation revealed the absence of genetic mutations at the chromosomal level. The extent of DNA damage quantified by Comet assay and the mutagenicity study using Ames test were significantly correlated for the MNPs. Our results indicated that magnetite nanoparticles with the defined physicochemical properties caused apparent toxicity at higher concentrations of 30 ppm and 70 ppm without chromosomal abnormalities under the experimental conditions of this study.

KEYWORDS: Magnetite nanoparticles, mutagenicity, genotoxicity, in vitro assays

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