Nanoparticles do not exist in thermodynamical equilibrium because of high surface free energy, thus they have only kinetic stability. Spontaneous changes can be delayed by designed surface coating. In biomedical applications, superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) require an optimized coating in order to fulfil the expectation of medicine regulatory agencies and ultimately that of biocompatibility. In this work, we show the high surface reactivity of naked SPIONs due to ≡Fe–OH sites, which can react with H+/OH− to form pH- and ionic strength-dependent charges. We explain the post-coating of naked SPIONs with organic polyacids via multi-site complex bonds formed spontaneously. The excess polyacids can be removed from the medium. The free COOH groups in coating are prone to react with active biomolecules like proteins. Charging and pH- and salt-dependent behaviour of carboxylated SPIONs were characterized quantitatively. The interrelation between the coating quality and colloidal stability measured under biorelevant conditions is discussed. Our coagulation kinetics results allow us to predict colloidal stability both on storage and in use; however, a simpler method would be required to test SPION preparations. Haemocompatibility tests (smears) support our qualification for good and bad SPION manufacturing; the latter ‘promises’ fatal outcome in vivo.
One contribution of 12 to a theme issue ‘Multifunctional nanostructures for diagnosis and therapy of diseases’.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
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