An integrated ICP-MS-based analytical approach to fractionate and characterize ionic and nanoparticulate Ce species

Yingyan Huang, Judy Tsz Shan Lum, Kelvin Sze-Yin Leung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Cerium dioxide nanoparticles (CeO2 NPs) are widely used in various fields, leading to concern about their effect on human health. When conducting in vivo investigations of CeO2 NPs, the challenge is to fractionate ionic Ce and CeO2 NPs and to characterize CeO2 NPs without changing their properties/state. To meet this challenge, we developed an integrated inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS)-based analytical approach in which ultrafiltration is used to fractionate ionic and nanoparticulate Ce species while CeO2 NPs are characterized by single particle-ICP-MS (sp-ICP-MS). We used this technique to compare the effects of two sample pretreatment methods, alkaline and enzymatic pretreatments, on ionic Ce and CeO2 NPs. Results showed that enzymatic pretreatment was more efficient in extracting ionic Ce or CeO2 NPs from animal tissues. Moreover, results further showed that the properties/states of all ionic and nanoparticulate Ce species were well preserved. The rates of recovery of both species were over 85%; the size distribution of CeO2 NPs was comparable to that of original NPs. We then applied this analytical approach, including the enzymatic pretreatment and ICP-MS-based analytical techniques, to investigate the bioaccumulation and biotransformation of CeO2 NPs in mice. It was found that the thymus acts as a “holding station” in CeO2 NP translocation in vivo. CeO2 NP biotransformation was reported to be organ-specific. This is the first study to evaluate the impact of enzymatic and alkaline pretreatment on Ce species, namely ionic Ce and CeO2 NPs. This integrated ICP-MS-based analytical approach enables us to conduct in vivo biotransformation investigations of CeO2 NPs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3397-3410
Number of pages14
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number11
Early online date7 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • Biotransformation
  • Cerium dioxide nanoparticles
  • Dissolution
  • Fractionation
  • Inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry
  • Size characterization
  • Ions
  • Metal Nanoparticles/chemistry
  • Animals
  • Cerium/chemistry
  • Nanoparticles/chemistry
  • Mice
  • Spectrum Analysis


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