Cellular and organ responses to nanoparticles are relevant in the context of use of nanoparticles for biomedical applications. The purpose of the present study was to determine the potential of dextran stabilized iron oxide nanoparticles (DIONPs) to influence hepatic uptake and consequently induce hepatotoxic response in rats following intravenous administration. Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy analysis revealed that DIONPs are rapidly taken up into the liver, progressively broken down to iron constituents and exported into blood, with a part of it being retained in the liver. The potential of DIONPs to induce oxidative stress response was determined by evaluating the time-dependent redox defense status. Maximum alterations in antioxidant activities were observed to occur within a period of 7 days. However, this effect was not followed by significant increase in lipid peroxidation or modulation of hepatic enzymes such as alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase and bilirubin levels. Overall, these data imply that the liver retains functional integrity with a dose of 10 mg/kg DIONPs, although with brief activation of redox defenses.