Simulated biological fluid exposure changes nanoceria's surface properties but not its biological response

Robert A. Yokel, Matthew L. Hancock, Benjamin Cherian, Alexandra J. Brooks, Marsha L. Ensor, Hemendra J. Vekaria, Patrick G. Sullivan, Eric A. Grulke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Nanoscale cerium dioxide (nanoceria) has industrial applications, capitalizing on its catalytic, abrasive, and energy storage properties. It auto-catalytically cycles between Ce3+ and Ce4+, giving it pro-and anti-oxidative properties. The latter mediates beneficial effects in models of diseases that have oxidative stress/inflammation components. Engineered nanoparticles become coated after body fluid exposure, creating a corona, which can greatly influence their fate and effects. Very little has been reported about nanoceria surface changes and biological effects after pulmonary or gastrointestinal fluid exposure. The study objective was to address the hypothesis that simulated biological fluid (SBF) exposure changes nanoceria's surface properties and biological activity. This was investigated by measuring the physicochemical properties of nanoceria with a citric acid coating (size; morphology; crystal structure; surface elemental composition, charge, and functional groups; and weight) before and after exposure to simulated lung, gastric, and intestinal fluids. SBF-exposed nanoceria biological effect was assessed as A549 or Caco-2 cell resazurin metabolism and mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate. SBF exposure resulted in loss or overcoating of nanoceria's surface citrate, greater nanoceria agglomeration, deposition of some SBF components on nanoceria's surface, and small changes in its zeta potential. The engineered nanoceria and SBF-exposed nanoceria produced no statistically significant changes in cell viability or cellular oxygen consumption rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-265
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
StatePublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • A549 cells
  • Body fluids
  • Caco-2 cells
  • Cellular respiration
  • Cerium
  • Engineered nanoparticles
  • Hydrodynamic diameter
  • Microscopy, electron, transmission
  • Nanoceria
  • Nanoparticle corona
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared
  • Thermogravimetric analysis
  • X-ray diffraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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