Cytotoxicity of multifunctional surfactant containing capped mesoporous silica nanoparticles†
This paper reports the synthesis of silica capped surfactant (cetyltrimethylammonium bromide; CTAB) and dye (Rose Bengal; RB) containing mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs). Capping the pores of the surfactant containing MSNs with a thin silica layer decreased the immediate surfactant originated cytotoxicity of these particles without affecting their long term (3 days) cytotoxicity. Also, the silica capping process almost completely prevented the hemolytic activity of the surfactant containing MSNs. In addition, improved uptake of silica capped MSNs compared to the uncapped particles by cancer cells was demonstrated. The delayed cytotoxicity, low hemolytic activity, and better cellular uptake of the silica capped MSNs make them promising for the development of safe (i.e. with fewer side effects) yet efficient theranostic agents. These nanocarriers may release the loaded cytotoxic molecules (CTAB) mostly after being accumulated in the tumor site and cause so minimal damage to the normal tissues and blood components. In addition, the nanoscale confinement of RB molecules inside the pores of MSNs makes the particles brightly fluorescent. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that due to the singlet oxygen generation capability of the RB dye the silica capped MSNs can be also used for photodynamic therapy of cancer.