Theranostics 2013; 3(9):650-657. doi:10.7150/thno.6668

Research Paper

Label-Free Luminescent Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles for Imaging and Drug Delivery

Hongmin Chen1*, Zipeng Zhen1*, Wei Tang1, Trever Todd1, Yen-Jun Chuang2, Lianchun Wang3, Zhengwei Pan2, Jin Xie1✉

1. Department of Chemistry and Bio-Imaging Research Center (BIRC), University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, United States;
2. Faculty of Engineering, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, United States;
3. Department of Biochemistry and Complex Carbohydrate Research Center (CCRC), University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, United States.
* These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract

We report herein a straightforward and label-free approach to prepare luminescent mesoporous silica nanoparticles. We found that calcination at 400 °C can grant mesoporous organosilica nanoparticles with strong fluorescence of great photo- and chemical stability. The luminescence is found to originate from the carbon dots generated from the calcination, rather than the defects in the silica matrix as was believed previously. The calcination does not impact the particles' abilities to load drugs and conjugate to biomolecules. In a proof-of-concept study, we demonstrated that doxorubicin (Dox) can be efficiently encapsulated into these fluorescent mesoporous silica nanoparticles. After coupled to c(RGDyK), the nanoconjugates can efficiently home to tumors through interactions with integrin αvβ3 overexpressed on the tumor vasculature. This calcination-induced luminescence is expected to find wide applications in silica-based drug delivery, nanoparticle coating, and immunofluorescence imaging.

Keywords: Silica nanoparticles, Drug delivery, Integrin αvβ3, Bioimaging, Doxorubicin.

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How to cite this article:
Chen H, Zhen Z, Tang W, Todd T, Chuang YJ, Wang L, Pan Z, Xie J. Label-Free Luminescent Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles for Imaging and Drug Delivery. Theranostics 2013; 3(9):650-657. doi:10.7150/thno.6668. Available from http://www.thno.org/v03p0650.htm