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The increasing interest in magnetic fluids (MFs) for biomedical applications demands a deeper knowledge of their effects in biological systems. To evaluate the in vivo response of a MF sample based on magnetite nanoparticles stabilized by a precoating double layer of dodecanoic acid plus ethoxylated polyalcohol (MFDE), the inflammation-related oxidative stress and antioxidant tissue response were both addressed in this study. MFDE sample was intraperitoneally administrated to mice at three different doses. The lipid peroxidation and the antioxidant defense induced in the liver and spleen were evaluated, respectively, by thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) and catalase activity, 1, 14, and 28 days after MFDE treatment. The liver and spleen responded with a huge increase in TBARS after MFDE treatment. We observed that oxidative changes as well as the variations in the liver catalase activity were time and MFDE-dose dependent. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.