Synthesis of an AIEgen functionalized cucurbituril for subcellular bioimaging and synergistic photodynamic therapy and supramolecular chemotherapy†
Aggregation-induced emission (AIE) based fluorophores (AIEgens) have attracted increasing attention for biomedical applications due to their unique optical properties. Here we report an AIE photosensitizer functionalized CB, namely AIECB, which could spontaneously self-assemble into nanoaggregates in aqueous solutions. Interestingly, the carbonyl-lace of CB may potentially act as a proton acceptor in an acidic environment to fine-tune the fluorescence and singlet oxygen generation of AIECB nanoaggregates by regulating the inner stacking of AIEgens. Additionally, benefiting from the guest-binding properties of CB, oxaliplatin was included into AIECB nanoaggregates for combined photodynamic therapy and supramolecular chemotherapy. To show the modular versatility of this supramolecular system, a hypoxia-activatable prodrug banoxantrone (AQ4N) was loaded into AIECB nanoaggregates, which exhibited synergistic antitumor effects on a multicellular tumor spheroid model (MCTS). This work not only provides AIECB for versatile theranostic applications, but also offers important new insights into the design and development of macrocycle-conjugated AIE materials for diverse biomedical applications.
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