Theranostics 2017; 7(17):4217-4228. doi:10.7150/thno.21557 This issue

Research Paper

Ultra-small pH-responsive Nd-doped NaDyF4 Nanoagents for Enhanced Cancer Theranostic by in situ Aggregation

Yuxin Liu1*, Huimin Fan1*, Quanwei Guo1, Anqi Jiang1, Xiaoxia Du2, Jing Zhou1✉

1. Department of Chemistry, Capital Normal University, Beijing, 100048, P. R. China;
2. Shanghai Key Laboratory of Magnetic Resonance, Physics Department, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, P. R. China.
* These authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
Liu Y, Fan H, Guo Q, Jiang A, Du X, Zhou J. Ultra-small pH-responsive Nd-doped NaDyF4 Nanoagents for Enhanced Cancer Theranostic by in situ Aggregation. Theranostics 2017; 7(17):4217-4228. doi:10.7150/thno.21557. Available from

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Graphic abstract

To achieve accurate tumor location and highly efficient cancer therapy effect, the properties of cancer theranostic agents should be optimized and enhanced. In this work, ultra-small Nd doped NaDyF4 were firstly reported as novel contrast agents for near-infrared second window downconversion luminescence (NIR II DCL) and magnetic resonance imaging. Based on the optimization strategy, gallic acid-Fe(III) complex modified NaDyF4:10%Nd (NaDyF4:10%Nd-GA-Fe) was selected as the optimal agent with high transversal relaxivity, strong NIR II DCL, high photothermal conversion efficiency, and low toxicity. In vitro experiment found that it can be aggregated rapidly in low pH condition, leading to the particle size increasing. Due to the theranostic properties coupled in NaDyF4:10%Nd-GA-Fe are size dependent, properties enhancement was observed within the pH responsive aggregation progress. Further study in small animal model bearing tumor demonstrated the enhanced cancer theranostic by in situ aggregation. The optimized nanoagents have potential applications in medical and also provide a novel strategy for future study of cancer theranostic enhancement.

Keywords: neodymium, NaDyF4, NIR II, magnetic resonance imaging, photothermal therapy.