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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2012, Article ID 614094, 11 pages
Review Article

Biocompatibility and Toxicity of Magnetic Nanoparticles in Regenerative Medicine

Institute of Science and Technology in Medicine, Keele University Medical School, Thornburrow Drive, Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 7QB, UK

Received 4 May 2012; Revised 28 June 2012; Accepted 16 July 2012

Academic Editor: Xiaoming Li

Copyright © 2012 H. Markides et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Regenerative medicine is a pioneering field aimed at restoring and regenerating the function of damaged cells, organs and tissues in order to establish normal function. It demands the cross communication of disciplines to develop effective therapeutic stem cell based therapies. Nanotechnology has been instrumental in the development and translation of basic research to the clinically relevant therapies. In particular, magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) have been applied to tag, track and activate stem cells offering an effective means of monitoring in vitro and in vivo behaviour. MNPs are comprised of an iron oxide core with a biocompatible biological polymer. Safety is an issue of constant concern and emphasises on the importance of investigating the issue of toxicity. Any indication of toxicity can ultimately limit the therapeutic efficiency of the therapy. Toxicity is highly dependent on the physical, chemical and structural properties of the MNP itself as well as dose and intended use. Few in vitro studies have reported adverse effects of MNP on cells at in vitro in therapeutic doses. However, long term in vivo studies have not been studied as extensively. This review aims to summarise current research in this topic highlighting commonly used toxicity assays to investigate this.