The spontaneous protein corona formed on nanoparticles in biological media can be detrimental for their intended biomedical uses. Herein we present a universal route to preform a monolayer of human albumin onto iron oxide nanoparticles guided by molecular dynamic simulations. This well-defined albumin corona acts as a bio-shield against the rapid acidic-dissolution of the iron oxide cores, it increases their colloidal dispersability in PBS (phosphate-buffered saline) and it does not interfere with the nanoparticles' performance as magnetic resonance imaging (T2-MRI) contrast agent. Theranostic drug delivery albumin-nanocages attained by partial dissolution of the inorganic core are proposed as the follow-up of this work.

Insights into preformed HSA corona on iron oxide nanoparticles: structure, effect of particle size, impact on MRI efficiency and metabolization
Carlos Moya, Remei Escudero, David C. Malaspina, Maria de la Mata, Jesús Hernández-Saz, Jordi Faraudo, Anna Roig
ACS Appl. Bio Mater. 2, 7, 3084–3094, 2019
DOI: 10.1021/acsabm.9b00386

Figure: Excellent accordance between the values obtained from spectroscopy studies and results from molecular dynamics simulation: A) the number of proteins units forming a monolayer of human serum albumin (HSA) corona on the surface of iron oxide nanoparticles of different sizes. HSA corona enhances particle integrity and stability in biological media:  B) The hydrodynamic diameter of HSA-nanoparticles is stable up to 25 hours in gastric-like conditions. C) MRI performance of the HSA-nanoparticles is unaltered after their incubation in PBS for 90 days.

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