Enzymatic oxidative biodegradation of nanoparticles: Mechanisms, significance and applications

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Biopersistence of carbon nanotubes, graphene oxide (GO) and several other types of carbonaceous nanomaterials is an essential determinant of their health effects. Successful biodegradation is one of the major factors defining the life span and biological responses to nanoparticles. Here, we review the role and contribution of different oxidative enzymes of inflammatory cells – myeloperoxidase, eosinophil peroxidase, lactoperoxidase, hemoglobin, and xanthine oxidase – to the reactions of nanoparticle biodegradation. We further focus on interactions of nanomaterials with hemoproteins dependent on the specific features of their physico-chemical and structural characteristics. Mechanistically, we highlight the significance of immobilized peroxidase reactive intermediates vs diffusible small molecule oxidants (hypochlorous and hypobromous acids) for the overall oxidative biodegradation process in neutrophils and eosinophils. We also accentuate the importance of peroxynitrite-driven pathways realized in macrophages via the engagement of NADPH oxidase- and NO synthase-triggered oxidative mechanisms. We consider possible involvement of oxidative machinery of other professional phagocytes such as microglial cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells, in the context of biodegradation relevant to targeted drug delivery. We evaluate the importance of genetic factors and their manipulations for the enzymatic biodegradation in vivo. Finally, we emphasize a novel type of biodegradation realized via the activation of the “dormant” peroxidase activity of hemoproteins by the nano-surface. This is exemplified by the binding of GO to cyt c causing the unfolding and ‘unmasking’ of the peroxidase activity of the latter. We conclude with the strategies leading to safe by design carbonaceous nanoparticles with optimized characteristics for mechanism-based targeted delivery and regulatable life-span of drugs in circulation.

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