Reactive oxygen species (ROS)-responsive ferrocene-polymer-based nanoparticles for controlled release of drugs†
Ferrocene-containing nanoparticles show reversible redox activity that could trigger drug release mediated by reactive oxygen species (ROS). In this study, four ferrocene-containing polymers, comprising ferrocenylmethyl methacrylate (FMMA)–methacrylic acid (MA) random copolymers, i.e., poly(FMMA-r-MA), were synthesized via radical polymerization, resulting in self-assembled ferrocene nanoparticles (FNPs) with outstanding performance in environments in which ROS are present. These spherical FNPs have tunable diameters ranging from 270 nm to 180 nm and surface charges from −20 mV to −50 mV. Importantly, the diameters and surface charges of the FNPs changed dramatically after 2 h of post-treatment using 0.4 M hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) as the oxidant, indicating that the FNPs were highly ROS-sensitive. Furthermore, the controlled release of a model drug from the FNPs, reflected in the release profiles, indicates that these novel FNPs could be potentially used as drug carriers for the effective therapy of ROS-related diseases such as cancer and inflammation.