Cerium oxide nanoparticles (CeNPs) exhibit antioxidant properties both in vitro and in vivo. This is due to the self-regeneration of their surface, which is based on redox-cycling between 3+ and 4+ states for cerium, in response to their immediate environment. Additionally, oxygen vacancies in the lattice structure allow for alternating between CeO2
during redox reactions. Research to identify and characterize the biomedical applications of CeNPs has been heavily focused on investigating their use in treating diseases that are characterized by higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Although the bio-mimetic activities of CeNPs have been extensively studied in vitro, in vivo interactions and associated protein corona formation are not well understood. This review describes: (1) the methods of synthesis for CeNPs, including the recent green synthesis methods that offer enhanced biocompatibility and a need for establishing a reference CeNP material for consistency across studies; (2) their enzyme-mimetic activities, with a focus on their antioxidant activities; and, (3) recent experimental evidence that demonstrates their ROS scavenging abilities and their potential use in personalized medicine.
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