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Biomaterials. 2008 Jun;29(18):2705-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.03.014.

The role of cerium redox state in the SOD mimetic activity of nanoceria.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, Burnett School of Biomedical Science, College of Medicine, 4000 Central Florida Boulevard, Building 20 Room 124, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816-2364, United States.


Cerium oxide nanoparticles (nanoceria) have recently been shown to protect cells against oxidative stress in both cell culture and animal models. Nanoceria has been shown to exhibit superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity using a ferricytochrome C assay, and this mimetic activity that has been postulated to be responsible for cellular protection by nanoceria. The nature of nanoceria's antioxidant properties, specifically what physical characteristics make nanoceria effective at scavenging superoxide anion, is poorly understood. In this study electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) analysis confirms the reactivity of nanoceria as an SOD mimetic. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and UV-visible analyses of nanoceria treated with hydrogen peroxide demonstrate that a decrease in the Ce 3(+)/4(+) ratio correlates directly with a loss of SOD mimetic activity. These results strongly suggest that the surface oxidation state of nanoceria plays an integral role in the SOD mimetic activity of nanoceria and that ability of nanoceria to scavenge superoxide is directly related to cerium(III) concentrations at the surface of the particle.

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