ROS-responsive mesoporous silica nanoparticles for MR imaging-guided photodynamically maneuvered chemotherapy†
Mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) with stimuli-responsive gatekeepers have been extensively investigated for controlled drug delivery at the target sites. Herein, we developed reactive oxygen species (ROS)-responsive MSNs (R-MSNs), consisting of a gadolinium (Gd)–DOTA complex as the ROS-responsive gatekeeper and polyethylene glycol (PEG)-conjugated chlorin e6 as the ROS generator, for magnetic resonance (MR) imaging-guided photodynamic chemotherapy. Doxorubicin (DOX), chosen as an anticancer drug, was physically encapsulated into DOTA-conjugated MSNs, followed by chemical crosslinking via the addition of GdCl3. DOX-R-MSNs could effectively maintain their structural integrity in a physiological environment for 7 days and show an enhanced in vitro T1-MR imaging signal for the Gd–DOTA complex. Upon 660 nm laser irradiation, the release rate of DOX from DOX-R-MSNs remarkably increased along with the disintegration of the gatekeeper, whereas DOX release was significantly retarded without irradiation. When DOX-R-MSNs were intravenously injected into tumor-bearing mice, they were effectively accumulated in tumor tissue, which was demonstrated using MR imaging. In addition, tumor growth was significantly suppressed by DOX-R-MSNs, allowing for site-specific release of DOX in a photodynamically maneuvered manner. Overall, these results suggest that R-MSNs have potential as drug carriers for MR imaging-guided photodynamic chemotherapy.