ABSTRACT Recently there has been a wide concern on inorganic nanoparticles as drug delivery carriers. CaCO3 particles have shown promising potential for the development of carriers for drugs, but little research had been performed regarding their safe dosage for maximizing the therapeutic activity without harming biosystems. In this study, we assessed the biological safety of porous spherical CaCO3 microparticles on Hela cells. The reactive oxygen species (ROS), glutathione (GSH), carbonyl content in proteins (CCP), DNA-protein crosslinks (DPC) and cell viability were measured. Results showed that with the exposure concentration increase, ROS and CCP in Hela cells presented a significant increase but GSH contents in Hela cells and cell viability showed a significant decrease respectively compared with the control. DPC coefficient ascended, but no statistically significant changes were observed. The results indicated that porous spherical CaCO3 microparticles may induce oxidative damage to Hela cells. But compared with other nanomaterials, porous spherical CaCO3 appeared to have good biocompatibility. The results implied that porous spherical calcium carbonate microparticles could be applied as relatively safe drug vehicles, but with the caveat that the effect of high dosages should not be ignored when attempting to maximize therapeutic activity by increasing the concentration.
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