Abstract : Spinel structured iron oxide nanoparticles open the way of biomedical applications of nanomaterials.Superparamagnetic properties of ten nanometer size crystallites permit to use them in diagnosis such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).The aim of this work was to synthesize colloidal suspension of magnetite or maghemite (called USPIO for Ultrasmall SuperParamagnetic Iron Oxide) stable in physiological conditions (pH = 7.4 and [NaCl] = 0.15M).By classical co-precipitation method, UPSIO were synthesized with a mean crystallite size of 8 nm, with a specific surface area of 110 m².g-1 and an aggregate size of 20 nm. To stabilize these nano-objects, two ways were investigated. Electrostatic agents (like citric acid and DMSA) modified iron oxide surface charge. Steric stabilization was also studied by grafting methoxy-PEG coupled with a silane function (mPEG-Si).and the combination mPEG - DMSA also resulted in stable suspensions. Moreover thiols functions coming from DMSA and present on the surface of the nanoparticles were prevented from oxidation thanks to steric protection of polymer chains. Thanks to this method post-functionalization of USPIO was possible several weeks after synthesis. This concept was validated with the post-grafting of a dye (0.48 RITC per nm²) used for in vitro detection in fluorescent microscopy.Nanoparticles were also synthesized in a continuous way with a hydrothermal process which could work from soft chemistry to supercritical water. In classical hydrothermal conditions, USPIO stabilized with citrates were obtained in a continuous way. Thanks to the physico-chemical properties of supercritical water, co-precipitation of magnetite without base adding was possible.Cytotoxicity and cellular internalization assays were done with our USPIO in three cellular models (macrophages RAW, hepatocytes HePG2 and cardiomyocytes). Moreover the efficiency as MRI contrast agents were measured in gels tubes and on mice models and compared to an iron oxide commercial product. Late hepatic biodistribution (more than three hours) was proven with pegylated nanoparticles, which opens the way of specific detections.