Investigating Ceria Nanocrystals Uptake by Glioblastoma Multiforme Cells and its Related Effects: An Electron Microscopy Study

  • Bader Aloufi

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Cerium oxide nanoparticles have been utilized widely nowadays in cancer research. It has been suggested by many studies that these nanoparticles are capable of having dual antioxidant behavior in healthy and cancer microenvironment; where in physiological condition, they act as antioxidant and do not affect the healthy cells, while in tumor-like condition; they act as an oxidase, and result in a selective killing for the cancer cells. In this experiment, the interaction of nanoceria with glioblastoma and healthy astrocyte cells was examined, and further correlated with the in vitro cytotoxic effects of various nanoceria concentrations (100 and 300 µg/ml) and exposure times (12, 24, and 48 hours). Electron microscopes were used to investigate the cellular-NPs interactions, and to examine the related cytotoxic effects in combination with trypan blue and propidium iodide viability assays. Our data suggest the following results. First, the two cell lines demonstrated capability of taken up the ceria through endocytosis pathway, where the NPs were recognized engulfed by double membrane vesicles at various regions over the cellular cytoplasm. Secondly, cerium oxide nanoparticles were found to affect the glioblastoma cells, but not so severely the corresponding healthy astrocytes at the various concentrations and incubation times, as revealed by the viability assays and the electron microscopy analysis. Thirdly, the viability of the glioblastoma cells after the treatment displayed a declined trend when increasing the ceria concentrations, but did not show such dependency with regard to the different time points. In all cases, the healthy astrocyte cells showed slight alterations in mitochondrial shape which did not influence their viability. Among the various nanoceria concentrations and exposure times, the most efficient dose of treatment was found to be with a concentration of 300 µg/ml at a time point of 24-hour, where higher reduction on the viability of glioblastoma cells was achieved, with minimal toxicity to the healthy astrocyte cells.
Date of AwardJan 22 2017
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorAndrea Falqui (Supervisor)


  • SEM
  • TEM
  • EDX

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