Cerium oxide nanoparticles (nanoceria), well known for their pro- and antioxidant features, have been recently proposed for the treatment of several pathologies, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. However, interaction between nanoceria and biological molecules such as proteins and lipids, short blood circulation time, and the need of a targeted delivery to desired sites are some aspects that require strong attention for further progresses in the clinical application of these nanoparticles. The aim of this work is the encapsulation of nanoceria into a liposomal formulation in order to improve their therapeutic potentialities. After the preparation through a reverse-phase evaporation method, size, Z-potential, morphology, and loading efficiency of nanoceria-loaded liposomes were investigated. Finally, preliminary in vitro studies were performed to test cell uptake efficiency and preserved antioxidant activity. Nanoceria-loaded liposomes showed a good colloidal stability, an excellent biocompatibility, and strong antioxidant properties due to the unaltered activity of the entrapped nanoceria. With these results, the possibility of exploiting liposomes as carriers for cerium oxide nanoparticles is demonstrated here for the first time, thus opening exciting new opportunities for in vivo applications.
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