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The MgO nanoparticles are widely used in many fields. However, the toxicity of these nanoparticles to cells and organs remains fairly undiscovered. In this study, the cytotoxicity of MgO nanoparticles on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) in vitro was examined. The morphology and size of MgO nanoparticles were analysed by the transmission electron microscope (TEM) and nanoparticle size analyser. MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-2 h-tetrazolium bromide) assay, 4 ,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining analysis, NO release and total antioxidation competence (T-AOC) assay were used to evaluate the cytotoxicity of MgO nanoparticles. The results showed that most MgO nanoparticles were spherical with agglomerated state and the diameter of single particle was about 100 nm. Meanwhile, low concentration (below 200 g/ml) of MgO nanoparticles suspension showed no cytotoxicity by MTT assay. However, once the concentration of MgO nanoparticles was higher than 500 g/ml, the relative growth rate was lower than the control. The DAPI staining analysis results showed no significant difference of the cells morphology between the groups with or without MgO nanoparticles. In addition, the MgO nanoparticles significantly enhanced the NO release and T-AOC content of the HUVECs. The testing results indicated that low concentration of MgO nanoparticles exhibited non-cytotoxicity.