Nano-Micro Letters

In Situ Synthesis of Fluorescent Mesoporous Silica-Carbon Dot Nanohybrids Featuring Folate Receptor-Overexpressing Cancer Cell Targeting and Drug Delivery

Shuai Zhao1, 2, Shan Sun2, *, Kai Jiang2, Yuhui Wang2, Yu Liu3, Song Wu3, Zhongjun Li4, Qinghai Shu1, 3, *, Hengwei Lin2, *

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Nano-Micro Lett. (2019) 11: 32

First Online: 05 April 2019 (Article)


*Corresponding author. E-mail: (Shan Sun); (Qinghai Shu); (Hengwei Lin)





Multifunctional nanocarrier-based theranostics is supposed to overcome some key problems in cancer treatment. In this work, a novel method for the preparation of a fluorescent mesoporous silica-carbon dot nanohybrid was developed. Carbon dots (CDs), from folic acid as the raw material, can be formed in situ and anchored on the surface of amino-modified mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs-NH2) via a microwave-assisted solvothermal reaction. The as-prepared nanohybrid (designated MSNs-CDs) not only exhibited strong and stable yellow emission but also preserved the unique features of MSNs (e.g., mesoporous structure, large specific surface area, and good biocompatibility), demonstrating a potential capability for fluorescence imaging-guided drug delivery. More interestingly, the MSNs-CDs nanohybrid was found to be able to selectively target folate receptor-overexpressing cancer cells (e.g., HeLa), indicating that folic acid still retained its function even after undergoing the solvothermal reaction. Benefited by these excellent properties, the fluorescent MSNs-CDs nanohybrid can be employed as a fluorescence-guided nanocarrier for the targeted delivery of anticancer drugs (e.g., doxorubicin), thereby enhancing chemotherapeutic efficacy and reducing side effects. The as-developed method may provide a facile strategy for the preparation/fabrication of multifunctional MSN-based theranostic platforms, which would be beneficial in the diagnosis and therapy of cancers in future.



Mesoporous silica nanoparticles; Carbon dots; Fluorescence imaging; Targeted drug delivery; Chemotherapy

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