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Ultrasmall and photostable nanotheranostic agents based on carbon quantum dots passivated with polyamine-containing organosilane molecules

Abstract

In this work, we demonstrate that the ultrasmall, photostable and multifunctional carbon quantum dots (or carbon dots, CDs) passivated with polyamine-containing organosilane molecules can realize simultaneous cell imaging and anticancer drug delivery. The presence of abundant surface amine groups makes these CDs be able to covalently link with the anticancer drug, doxorubicin (DOX), with an extremely high drug loading capacity (62.8%), while the surface hydroxyl groups ensure the good water-dispersibility of the CDs–DOX. Besides the use as drug carrier, the fluorescent CDs also enable the dynamic tracing of the drug release process. When the CDs–DOX complexes were internalized by the human breast cancer cells (MCF-7), DOX could gradually detach from the surface of CDs and enter into the cell nucleus, while the CDs themselves still resided in the cytoplasm. In addition, the in vivo experiments showed that the CDs–DOX complexes exhibited a better tumor inhibition performance than free DOX molecules, which may be ascribed to the prolonged drug accumulation in tumor tissues. Furthermore, the as-synthesized CDs also exhibited negligible cytotoxicity/systemic side effects, and could successfully illuminate the mammalian, bacterial and fungal cells, making them good candidates for not only drug delievery vehicles but also universal cell imaging reagents. The present work may have implications for the fabrication of functional carbon-based nanomaterials and foster the developments of carbon dots as novel nanotheranostics for various biomedical applications.

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Publication details

The article was accepted on 08 Sep 2017 and first published on 11 Sep 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR05613C
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Ultrasmall and photostable nanotheranostic agents based on carbon quantum dots passivated with polyamine-containing organosilane molecules

    J. Yang, G. Gao, X. Zhang, Y. Ma, H. Jia, Y. Jiang, Z. Wang and F. Wu, Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7NR05613C

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