Tannic Acid-Iron Complex-Based Nanoparticles as a Novel Tool against Oxidative Stress

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2022 Apr 13;14(14):15927-15941. doi: 10.1021/acsami.1c24576. Epub 2022 Mar 30.


Accumulation of reactive oxygen species in cells leads to oxidative stress, with consequent damage for cellular components and activation of cell-death mechanisms. Oxidative stress is often associated with age-related conditions, as well as with several neurodegenerative diseases. For this reason, antioxidant molecules have attracted a lot of attention, especially those derived from natural sources─like polyphenols and tannins. The main issue related to the use of antioxidants is their inherent tendency to be oxidized, their quick enzymatic degradation in biological fluids, and their poor bioavailability. Nanomedicine, in this sense, has helped in finding new solutions to deliver and protect antioxidants; however, the concentration of the encapsulated molecule in conventional nanosystems could be very low and, therefore, less effective. We propose to exploit the properties of tannic acid, a known plant-derived antioxidant, to chelate iron ions, forming hydrophobic complexes that can be coated with a biocompatible and biodegradable phospholipid to improve stability in biological media. By combining nanoprecipitation and hot sonication procedures, we obtained three-dimensional networks composed of tannic acid-iron with a hydrodynamic diameter of ≈200 nm. These nanostructures show antioxidant properties and scavenging activity in cells after induction of an acute chemical pro-oxidant insult; moreover, they also demonstrated to counteract damage induced by oxidative stress both in vitro and on an in vivo model organism (planarians).

Keywords: antioxidant; bionanomaterials; oxidative stress; planarians; tannic acid−iron complexes.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Iron / pharmacology
  • Nanoparticles*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Tannins* / pharmacology


  • Antioxidants
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Tannins
  • Iron