The Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM) is an institute of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) (Spanish National Research Council) founded in December 1986, that belongs to the Area of Science and Technology of Materials, one of the eight Areas in which the CSIC divides its research activities.


Our mission is to create new fundamental and applied knowledge in materials of high technological impact, their processing and their transfer to the productive sectors at local, national and European scales (the true value of materials is in their use), the training of new professionals, and the dissemination of the scientific knowledge.

How to arrive

Forthcoming Events


1st Workshop of the Materials Science Factory
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Imaging, controlling and harnessing non-collinear magnetism in perovskite oxides
Manuel Bibes  read more

Time-course assessment of the aggregation and metabolization of magnetic nanoparticles

José M.Rojas, Helena Gavilán, Vanesa del Dedo, Eduardo Lorente-Sorolla, Laura Sanz-Ortega, Gustavo B. da Silva, Rocío Costo, Sonia Perez-Yagüe, Marina Talelli, Marzia Marciello, M. Puerto Morales, Domingo F. Barber and Lucía Gutiérrez

To successfully develop biomedical applications for magnetic nanoparticles, it is imperative that these nanoreagents maintain their magnetic properties in vivo and that their by-products are safely metabolized. When placed in biological milieu or internalized into cells, nanoparticle aggregation degree can increase which could affect magnetic properties and metabolization. To evaluate these aggregation effects, we synthesized citric acid-coated iron oxide nanoparticles whose magnetic susceptibility can be modified by aggregation in agar dilutions and dextran-layered counterparts that maintain their magnetic properties unchanged. Macrophage models were used for in vitro uptake and metabolization studies, as these cells control iron homeostasis in the organism. Electron microscopy and magnetic susceptibility studies revealed a cellular mechanism of nanoparticle degradation, in which a small fraction of the particles is rapidly degraded while the remaining ones maintain their size. Both nanoparticle types produced similar iron metabolic profiles but these profiles differed in each macrophage model. Thus, nanoparticles induced iron responses that depended on macrophage programming. In vivo studies showed that nanoparticles susceptible to changes in magnetic properties through aggregation effects had different behavior in lungs, liver and spleen. Liver ferritin levels increased in these animals showing that nanoparticles are degraded and their by-products incorporated into normal metabolic routes. These data show that nanoparticle iron metabolization depends on cell type and highlight the necessity to assess nanoparticle aggregation in complex biological systems to develop effective in vivo biomedical applications.

Acta Biomater. 2017

Macrophage nanoparticle uptake and degradation observed by TEM. (A) NCTC, THP1-M1 and THP1-M2 macrophage models were loaded for 6 h with NPs-CIT or NPs-DEXT and observed after 0, 48 and 96 h. (B and C) Images showing NPs-CIT uptake by THP1-M2 cells at the initial time point at two magnifications. (D) Detail showing the presence of particles in vesicular structures (surrounded by a membrane) in the cell cytoplasm.

Publications Highlights

ICMM-2017 - Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, 3, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain. Tel: +34 91 334 9000. info@icmm.csic.es