Hyaluronic acid mediated biomineralization of multifunctional ceria nanocomposites as ROS scavengers and tumor photodynamic therapy agents†
Currently, there is great interest in developing ceria-based nanomaterials for biomedical applications. However, the development of nontoxic and eco-friendly processes for ceria nanomaterial synthesis remains a major challenge. Herein, hyaluronic acid (HA)-directed synthesis was reported under facile and mild reaction conditions for the first time. The obtained HA@ceria nanoquantum dots (HA@CQDs) exhibited efficient protective effects against damage induced by a series of in vitro reactive oxygen species (ROS)-generating models. In vivo, HA@CQDs chiefly distributed in the liver with no obvious toxicity and protected hepatocytes from damage caused by ROS. Furthermore, HA@CQDs-Ce6 was employed to assess cellular uptake. Considerably, significantly enhanced cellular uptake of HA@CQDs-Ce6 was observed in HeLa cells due to the strong receptor-binding affinity of HA to CD44. More importantly, the in vitro photodynamic therapy (PDT) results showed that HA@CQDs-Ce6/H2O2 exhibits an excellent tumor PDT effect assisted by H2O2 due to the dramatically increased cellular uptake of Ce6 and the enhancement of the O2 level. Taken together, our research emphasizes a green route to synthesize stabilized and dispersed HA@CQDs and recognize these compounds as ROS scavengers and therapeutic carriers to target tumors for PDT treatment.