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The influence of the composition of the polymer coated polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), vinyl alcohol/vinyl amine copolymer (A-PVA) and polyethylenimine (PEI) coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) on the colloidal stability, cytotoxicity and cellular uptake of these particles in different cell media is reported in this paper. Although all examined polymer coated SPIONs were stable in water and PBS buffer these colloidal systems had different stabilities in DMEM or RPMI media without and supplemented with fetal calf serum (FCS). We found that A-PVA coating onto the surface of the SPIONs decreased the cytotoxicity of the polymer compared to the same concentration of A-PVA alone. As well, polyplexes of PEI-SPIONs with DNA in concentration used for transfection experiments showed no cytotoxicity compared to PEI and PEI-SPIONs. Our data show that the choice of medium largely influences the uptake of these particles by HeLa cells. The optimal medium is different for the different examined polymer coated SPIONs and it should be determined in each case, individually.