Ce3+ ions determine redox-dependent anti-apoptotic effect of cerium oxide nanoparticles

Ivana Celardo, Milena De Nicola, Corrado Mandoli, Jens Z. Pedersen, Enrico Traversa*, Lina Ghibelli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

334 Scopus citations


Antioxidant therapy is the novel frontier to prevent and treat an impressive series of severe human diseases, and the search for adequate antioxidant drugs is fervent. Cerium oxide nanoparticles (nanoceria) are redox-active owing to the coexistence of Ce3+ and Ce4+ oxidation states and to the fact that Ce3+ defects, and the compensating oxygen vacancies, are more abundant at the surface. Nanoceria particles exert outstanding antioxidant effects in vivo acting as well-tolerated anti-age and anti-inflammatory agents, potentially being innovative therapeutic tools. However, the biological antioxidant mechanisms are still unclear. Here, the analysis on two leukocyte cell lines undergoing apoptosis via redox-dependent or independent mechanisms revealed that the intracellular antioxidant effect is the direct cause of the anti-apoptotic and prosurvival effects of nanoceria. Doping with increasing concentrations of Sm3+, which progressively decreased Ce3+ without affecting oxygen vacancies, blunted these effects, demonstrating that Ce3+/Ce 4+ redox reactions are responsible for the outstanding biological properties of nanoceria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4537-4549
Number of pages13
JournalACS Nano
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 28 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • antioxidant effect
  • apoptosis
  • cerium oxide
  • leukocytes
  • nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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