Iron and Iron Oxides - Uptake

Since superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION) are mainly used for medical purposes, the roles of the lung, the skin, and the gastrointestinal tract as the main entrance gates are of secondary importance. Direct administration (e.g. intravenous injection into the bloodstream) causes the particles to distribute in the body rapidly and as desired. SPION can be coated with special proteins (e.g. with folate for marking cancer cells) to be conducted towards selected cells or organs.

Different organisms such as pigeons or bacteria are known to store magnetic iron oxide particles in their bodies and use them to orientate themselves on the earth’s magnetic field [1]. It is important to differentiate between pure iron particles and iron oxide particles. Iron readily reacts with oxygen (corrosion) forming iron oxides. It is assumed that, due to their higher reactivity, iron particles are more toxic to environmental organisms than the naturally occurring iron oxides.


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