Researchers have found that iron oxide nanoparticles can act in similar ways to cellular antioxidants such as catalase, soaking up oxidative molecules and reducing oxidative stress and consequent damage. To the degree that this helps mitochondria resist damage, or alters the behavior of mitochondria in a similar way to that of the activity of mitochondrial antioxidants like catalase, this should modestly slow aging. Indeed, that is the result observed here:
In a study on flies, researchers have found that nanoparticles could potentially extend lifespan. The team tested the effects of iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticles on intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and their biological consequences on several cell and animal models. Fe3O4 nanoparticles is a type of biocompatible nanomaterial that has previously been widely used for bioimaging, biodiagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Increased ROS production over time has been closely associated with greater risk of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, there is a need to explore the long-term effects of nanomaterials on intracellular ROS levels, particularly those with promising biomedical applications in vivo.
The researchers found that Fe3O4 nanoparticles could protect cultured cells under various stress conditions, including hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) treatment, through catalase-like activity. They demonstrated that Fe3O4 nanoparticles retained this mimetic activity in vivo, helping to maintain optimal ROS balance, reduce intracellular oxidative stress, suppress cellular damage, delay animal aging and protect against neurodegeneration. These novel effects were further confirmed in Drosophila models of aging, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. The researchers hope that this study opens up new opportunities for the therapeutic use of Fe3O4 nanoparticles in the treatment of metabolic disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and aging.