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Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2016 Jan 30;18(1):e28939. doi: 10.5812/ircmj.28939. eCollection 2016 Jan.

Evaluation of Iron Oxide Nanoparticles Toxicity on Liver Cells of BALB/c Rats.

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Department of Biology, Sciences and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, IR Iran.
Department of Reproductive Genetics, Royan Institute for Reproductive Biomedicine, Tehran, IR Iran.
Department of Molecular Hepatology, Middle East Liver Disease Center, Tehran, IR Iran; Baqiyatallah Research Center for Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran.
Department of Molecular Hepatology, Middle East Liver Disease Center, Tehran, IR Iran; Department of Molecular Genetics, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, IR Iran.



Because of their unique magnetic properties, Fe3O4 nanoparticles (Fe3O4-NPs) have extensive applications in various biomedical aspects. Investigation of the possible adverse aspects of these particles has lagged far behind their fast growing application.


The current study aimed to evaluate the toxicity of Fe3O4-NPs in the liver of mice.


In the present clinical trial, 90 BALB/c mice were randomly divided in 15 groups. Five control groups were fed by usual water and food. Five placebo groups were gavaged with physiological serum in doses of 25, 50, 75, 150, and 300 micrograms per gram of body weight (μg/gr). Five experimental groups were gavaged with Fe3O4-NPs, in doses of 25, 50, 75, 150, and 300 μg/gr. This pattern was repeated every other day, for 3 days. Then, the levels of liver enzymes [alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP)] were compared between these groups. The histological alterations of livers were examined, as well. For statistical analysis, Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney, with type I Bonferroni correction, as post-hoc, have been used.


The administration of 150 and 300 μg/gr doses of Fe3O4-NPs were associated with significant elevation in liver enzymes, compared to controls (P < 0.0001). Furthermore, the histopathological effects were observed in the liver tissue of these groups. However, in groups treated with lower doses of Fe3O4-NPs, no significant adverse effect was observed.


Based on our results, the administration of Fe3O4-NPs causes dose dependent adverse effects on liver.


Alanine Transaminases; Alkaline Phosphatase; Aspartate Aminotransferases; Ferric Oxide; Hepatocytes; Liver; Nanoparticles

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