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Magnetofluorescent nanohybrid comprising polyglycerol grafted carbon dots and iron oxides: Colloidal synthesis and applications in cellular imaging and magnetically enhanced drug delivery

Wen, Yu, Xu, Meiyun, Liu, Xin, Jin, Xiaoya, Kang, Jiaqi, Xu, Di, Sang, Houyi, Gao, Peng, Chen, Xiao, Zhao, Li
Colloids and surfaces 2019 v.173 pp. 842-850
antineoplastic agents, carbon quantum dots, colloids, crosslinking, cytotoxicity, dyes, fluorescence, fluorescence microscopy, hydrophilicity, image analysis, iron oxides, magnetism, moieties, nanohybrids, neoplasm cells, neoplasms, photostability, therapeutics
Multifunctional nanohybrids are attracting increasing attention for potential biomedical applications such as bioimaging and drug delivery due to their combined advantages of individual components. However, challenges in the improvement of their synthesis and colloidal stability to facilitate practical biomedical applications still remain. In this work, we report an efficient synthetic approach to fabricate magnetofluorescent nanohybrid (IO-PG-CD) comprising fluorescent carbon dots (CDs) and magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (IOs) through polyglycerol (PG) mediated covalent linkage in aqueous media. CDs and IOs are first grafted with PG layer, and then functionalized with carboxyl and amino groups, respectively. The resulting CD-PG-COOH and IO-PG-NH2 handled as simple chemical compounds are integrated through EDC/NHS crosslinking to obtain the desired IO-PG-CD nanohybrid. The unprecedented hydrophilicity of PG layer endows IO-PG-CD nanohybrid with excellent colloidal stability in various physiological media, facilitating biomedical applications in vitro and in vivo. IO-PG-CD nanohybrid exhibits low cytotoxicity and its uptake by cells can be obviously enhanced by external magnetic attraction. The internalized IO-PG-CD nanohybrid emits multicolor fluorescence as observed by confocal fluorescence microscopy, demonstrating much better photostability than the nanoparticle labeled with organic dye. Taking advantage of enormous chelating carboxyl groups on the surface of IO-PG-CD nanohybrid, platinum-based anticancer drug was loaded on the surface (IO-PG-CD/Pt) through complexation and delivered into cancer cells in a magnetically enhanced manner, killing the cancer cells efficiently in vitro. Moreover, in vivo cancer therapy indicates that the external magnetic attraction also obviously improves the anticancer efficacy of IO-PG-CD/Pt in HeLa subcutaneous xenografts.