Previously, catalytic cerium oxide nanoparticles (CNPs, nanoceria, CeO2-x NPs) have been widely utilized for chemical mechanical planarization in the semiconductor industry and for reducing harmful emissions and improving fuel combustion efficiency in the automobile industry. Researchers are now harnessing the catalytic repertoire of CNPs to develop potential new treatment modalities for both oxidative- and nitrosative-stress induced disorders and diseases. In order to reach the point where our experimental understanding of the antioxidant activity of CNPs can be translated into useful therapeutics in the clinic, it is necessary to evaluate the most current evidence that supports CNP antioxidant activity in biological systems. Accordingly, the aims of this review are three-fold: (1) To describe the putative reaction mechanisms and physicochemical surface properties that enable CNPs to both scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS) and to act as antioxidant enzyme-like mimetics in solution; (2) To provide an overview, with commentary, regarding the most robust design and synthesis pathways for preparing CNPs with catalytic antioxidant activity; (3) To provide the reader with the most up-to-date in vitro
and in vivo
experimental evidence supporting the ROS-scavenging potential of CNPs in biology and medicine.
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