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Near-Infrared Triggered Upconversion Polymeric Nanoparticles Based on Aggregation-Induced Emission and Mitochondria Targeting for Photodynamic Cancer Therapy

Guan, Yue, Lu, Hongguang, Li, Wei, Zheng, Yadan, Jiang, Zhu, Zou, Jialing, Gao, Hui
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2017 v.9 no.32 pp. 26731-26739
acidity, apoptosis, biocompatibility, cell viability, cytotoxicity, energy, ethylene glycol, irradiation, mitochondria, nanoparticles, neoplasm cells, neoplasms, photochemotherapy, photosensitizing agents, polyethylene glycol, reactive oxygen species
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an auspicious strategy for cancer therapy by yielding reactive oxygen species (ROS) under light irradiation. Here, we have developed near-infrared (NIR) triggered polymer encapsulated upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) based on aggregation-induced emission (AIE) characteristics and mitochondria target ability for PDT. The coated AIE polymer as a photosensitizer can be photoactivated by the up-converted energy of UCNPs upon 980 nm laser irradiation, which could generate ROS efficiently in mitochondria and induce cell apoptosis. Moreover, a “sheddable” poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) layer was easily conjugated at the surface of NPs. The pH-responsive PEG layer shields the surface positive charges and shows stronger protein-resistance ability. In the acidic tumor environment, PEGylated NPs lose the PEG layer and show the mitochondria-targeting ability by responding to tumor acidity. A cytotoxicity study indicated that these NPs have good biocompatibility in the dark but exert severe cytotoxicity to cancer cells, with only 10% cell viability, upon being irradiated with an NIR laser. The AIE nanoparticles are a good candidate for effective mitochondria targeting photosensitizer for PDT.