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Nanoparticles for multi-modality cancer diagnosis: Simple protocol for self-assembly of gold nanoclusters mediated by gadolinium ions

Hou, Wenxiu, Xia, Fangfang, Alfranca, Gabriel, Yan, Hao, Zhi, Xiao, Liu, Yanlei, Peng, Chen, Zhang, Chunlei, de la Fuente, Jesus Martinez, Cui, Daxiang
Biomaterials 2017 v.120 pp. 103-114
X-radiation, aqueous solutions, biocompatibility, cations, chelates, computed tomography, electrostatic interactions, fluorescence, gadolinium, gold, image analysis, light intensity, mice, nanoparticles, neoplasms
It is essential to develop a simple synthetic strategy to improve the quality of multifunctional contrast agents for cancer diagnosis. Herein, we report a time-saving method for gadolinium (Gd3+) ions-mediated self-assembly of gold nanoclusters (GNCs) into monodisperse spherical nanoparticles (GNCNs) under mild conditions. The monodisperse, regular and colloidal stable GNCNs were formed via selectively inducing electrostatic interactions between negatively-charged carboxylic groups of gold nanoclusters and trivalent cations of gadolinium in aqueous solution. In this way, the Gd3+ ions were chelated into GNCNs without the use of molecular gadolinium chelates. With the co-existence of GNCs and Gd3+ ions, the formed GNCNs exhibit significant luminescence intensity enhancement for near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging, high X-ray attenuation for computed tomography (CT) imaging and reasonable r1 relaxivity for magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. The excellent biocompatibility of the GNCNs was proved both in vitro and in vivo. Meanwhile, the GNCNs also possess unique NIRF/CT/MR imaging ability in A549 tumor-bearing mice. In a nutshell, the simple and safe GNCNs hold great potential for tumor multi-modality clinical diagnosis.