Synchrotron radiation (SR) X-ray microscopy combined with X-ray fluorescence (XRF) microspectroscopy provides unique information that have pushed the frontiers of biological research, particularly when investigating intracellular mechanisms. This work reports an SR-XRF microspectroscopy investigation on the distribution and the potential toxicity of Fe2O3 and CoFe2O4 nanoparticles (NPs) in U87MG glioblastoma-astrocytoma cells. The U87MG cells exposed to NPs concentrations ranging from 5 to 250μg/ml for 24h were analyzed in order to monitor both morphological and chemical changes. The SR-XRF maps complemented with XRM absorption and phase contrast images have revealed different intracellular distribution patterns for the two nanoparticles types allowing different mechanism of toxicity to be deduced.
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