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Magnetic-luminescent YbPO4:Er,Dy microspheres designed for tumor theranostics with synergistic effect of photodynamic therapy and chemotherapy

Authors Wang W, Xu D, Wei XJ, Chen KZ

Received 18 February 2014

Accepted for publication 25 May 2014

Published 20 October 2014 Volume 2014:9(1) Pages 4879—4891

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S62678

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5

Wei Wang, Dong Xu, Xiaojun Wei, Kezheng Chen

Lab of Functional and Biomedical Nanomaterials, College of Materials Science and Engineering, Qingdao University of Science and Technology, Qingdao, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: In this paper, magnetic and fluorescent bifunctional YbPO4:Er,Dy microspheres were synthesized via a simple solvothermal method. The prepared microspheres exposed to 980 nm near-infrared (NIR) laser light emitted bright upconversion fluorescence (450–570 nm) after calcination at high temperatures (>800°C). Results of magnetic resonance studies demonstrated that the YbPO4:Er,Dy microspheres are more suitable to be used as a transverse relaxation time (negative) contrast magnetic resonance imaging agent. The microspheres successfully entered the human hepatocellular carcinoma cells and presented low toxicity. A well-selected photodynamic therapy (PDT) drug, merocyanine 540 (MC540) with an ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy absorption maximum of 540 nm, was loaded onto the microspheres to obtain YbPO4:Er,Dy-MC540. Since the upconversion fluorescence emitting from the microspheres could be absorbed by MC540 with a small absorption/emission disparity, YbPO4:Er,Dy-MC540 could kill the hepatocellular carcinoma cells via PDT mechanism effectively. In other words, being upconverting particles, the prepared microspheres acted as light transducers in the NIR light-triggered PDT process. A chemotherapy drug, doxorubicin, was further loaded onto YbPO4:Er,Dy-MC540 to achieve enhanced antitumor effect based on synergistic therapeutic efficacy of PDT and chemotherapy. It is expected that the prepared YbPO4:Er,Dy microspheres have applications in tumor theranostics including magnetic-fluorescent bimodal imaging and NIR light-triggered PDT.

Keywords: fluorescent, lanthanide, upconversion

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