Oleylamine as a beneficial agent for the synthesis of CoFe2O4 nanoparticles with potential biomedical uses
The multifunctional role of oleylamine (OAm) as a versatile and flexible reagent in synthesis as well as a desired surface ligand for the synthesis of CoFe2O4 nanoparticles (NPs) is described. CoFe2O4 NPs were prepared by a facile, reproducible and scalable solvothermal approach in the presence of pure OAm. By monitoring the volume of OAm, different shapes of NPs, spherical and truncated, were formed. The syntheses led to high yields of monodispersed and considerably small (9–11 nm) CoFe2O4 NPs with enhanced magnetization (Ms = 84.7–87.5 emu g−1). The resulting hydrophobic CoFe2O4 NPs were easily transferred to an aqueous phase through the formation of reverse micelles between the hydrophobic chains of OAm and cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) and transverse relaxivities (r2) were measured. The spherical NPs had a greater effect on water proton relaxivity (r2 = 553 mM−1 s−1) at an applied magnetic field of 11.7 T. The NPs became fluorescent probes by exploiting the presence of the double bond of OAm in the middle of the molecule; a thiol–ene “click” reaction with the fluorophore bovine serum albumin (FITC-BSA) was achieved. The labeled/biofunctionalized CoFe2O4 NPs interacted with cancer (HeLa and A549) and non-cancer cell lines (MRC5 and dental MSCS) and cell viability was estimated. A clear difference of toxicity between the cancer and non-cancer cells was observed while low cytotoxicity in living cells was supported. Confocal laser microscopy showed that NPs entered the cell membranes and were firstly localized close to them provoking a membrane expansion and were further accumulated perinuclearly without entering the nuclei.