In Vivo Assimilation of CuS, Iron Oxide and Iron Oxide@CuS Nanoparticles in Mice: A 6-Month Follow-Up Study

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Alberto Curcio, Aurore Van de Walle, Christine Péchoux, Ali Abou-Hassan, Claire Wilhelm

Nanoparticles (NPs) are at the leading edge of nanomedicine, and determining their biosafety remains a mandatory precondition for biomedical applications. Herein, we explore the bioassimilation of copper sulfide NPs reported as powerful photo-responsive anticancer therapeutic agents. The nanoparticles investigated present a hollow shell morphology, that can be left empty (CuS NPs) or be filled with an iron oxide flower-like core (iron oxide@CuS NPs), and are compared with the iron oxide nanoparticles only (iron oxide NPs). CuS, iron oxide@CuS and iron oxide NPs were injected in 6-week-old mice, at doses coherent with an antitumoral treatment. Cu and Fe were quantified in the liver, spleen, kidneys, and lungs over 6 months, including the control animals, thus providing endogenous Cu and Fe levels in the first months after animal birth. After intravenous NPs administration, 77.0 ± 3.9% of the mass of Cu injected, and 78.6 ± 3.8% of the mass of Fe, were detected in the liver. In the spleen, we found 3.3 ± 0.6% of the injected Cu and 3.8 ± 0.6% for the Fe. No negative impact was observed on organ weight, nor on Cu or Fe homeostasis in the long term. The mass of the two metals returned to the control values within three months, a result that was confirmed by transmission electron microscopy and histology images. This bioassimilation with no negative impact comforts the possible translation of these nanomaterials into clinical practice.