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Polymersomes containing quantum dots for cellular imaging

Authors Camblin M, Detampel P, Kettiger H, Wu D, Balasubramanian V, Huwyler J

Received 14 December 2013

Accepted for publication 7 February 2014

Published 12 May 2014 Volume 2014:9(1) Pages 2287—2298

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S59189

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Marine Camblin,1 Pascal Detampel,1 Helene Kettiger,1 Dalin Wu,2 Vimalkumar Balasubramanian,1,* Jörg Huwyler1,*

1Division of Pharmaceutical Technology, 2Department of Chemistry, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Quantum dots (QDs) are highly fluorescent and stable probes for cellular and molecular imaging. However, poor intracellular delivery, stability, and toxicity of QDs in biological compartments hamper their use in cellular imaging. To overcome these limitations, we developed a simple and effective method to load QDs into polymersomes (Ps) made of poly(dimethylsiloxane)-poly(2-methyloxazoline) (PDMS-PMOXA) diblock copolymers without compromising the characteristics of the QDs. These Ps showed no cellular toxicity and QDs were successfully incorporated into the aqueous compartment of the Ps as confirmed by transmission electron microscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. Ps containing QDs showed colloidal stability over a period of 6 weeks if stored in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) at physiological pH (7.4). Efficient intracellular delivery of Ps containing QDs was achieved in human liver carcinoma cells (HepG2) and was visualized by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). Ps containing QDs showed a time- and concentration-dependent uptake in HepG2 cells and exhibited better intracellular stability than liposomes. Our results suggest that Ps containing QDs can be used as nanoprobes for cellular imaging.

Keywords: quantum dots, polymersomes, cellular imaging, cellular uptake

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