Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol.542, 469-482, 2019
Wrapped stellate silica nanocomposites as biocompatible luminescent nanoplatforms assessed in vivo
The engineering of luminescent nanoplatforms for biomedical applications displaying ability for scaling-up, good colloidal stability in aqueous solutions, biocompatibility, and providing an easy detection in vivo by fluorescence methods while offering high potential of functionalities, is currently a challenge. The original strategy proposed here involves the use of large pore (ca. 15 nm) mesoporous silica (MS) nanoparticles (NPs) having a stellate morphology (denoted STMS) on which fluorescent InP/ZnS quantum dots (QDs) are covalently grafted with a high yield (>= 90%). These nanoplatforms are after that further coated to avoid a potential QDs release. To protect the QDs from potential release or dissolution, two wrapping methods are developed: (i) a further coating with a silica shell having small pores (<= 2 nm) or (ii) a tight polysaccharide shell deposited on the surface of these STMS@QDs particles via an original isobutyramide (IBAM)-mediated method. Both wrapping approaches yield to novel luminescent nanoplatforms displaying a highly controlled structure, a high size monodispersity (ca. 200 and 100 nm respectively) and colloidal stability in aqueous solutions. Among both methods, the IBAM-polysaccharide coating approach is shown the most suitable to ensure QDs protection and to avoid metal cation release over three months. Furthermore, these original STMS@QDs@polysaccharide luminescent nanoplatforms are shown biocompatible in vitro with murine cancer cells and in vivo after injections within zebrafish (ZF) translucent embryos where no sign of toxicity is observed during their development over several days. As assessed by in vivo confocal microscopy imaging, these nanoplatforms are shown to rapidly extravasate from blood circulation to settle in neighboring tissues, ensuring a remanent fluorescent labelling of ZF tissues in vivo. Such fluorescent and hybrid STMS composites are envisioned as novel luminescent nanoplatforms for in vivo fluorescence tracking applications and offer a versatile degree of additional functionalities (drug delivery, incorporation of magnetic/plasmonic core). (C) 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.