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Reduced cytotoxicity of insulin-immobilized CdS quantum dots using PEG as a spacer

KM Kamruzzaman Selim1, Zhi-Cai Xing1, Moon-Jeong Choi2, Yongmin Chang3, Haiqing Guo4 and Inn-Kyu Kang1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 702-701, South Korea

2 Medical and Biological Engineering, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 702-701, South Korea

3 Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Kyungpook National University, Dongin-dong, Daegu 700-422, South Korea

4 College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:528  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-528

Published: 23 September 2011


Cytotoxicity is a severe problem for cadmium sulfide nanoparticles (CSNPs) in biological systems. In this study, mercaptoacetic acid-coated CSNPs, typical semiconductor Q-dots, were synthesized in aqueous medium by the arrested precipitation method. Then, amino-terminated polyethylene glycol (PEG) was conjugated to the surface of CSNPs (PCSNPs) in order to introduce amino groups to the surface. Finally, insulin was immobilized on the surface of PCSNPs (ICSNPs) to reduce cytotoxicity as well as to enhance cell compatibility. The presence of insulin on the surface of ICSNPs was confirmed by observing infrared absorptions of amide I and II. The mean diameter of ICSNPs as determined by dynamic light scattering was about 38 nm. Human fibroblasts were cultured in the absence and presence of cadmium sulfide nanoparticles to evaluate cytotoxicity and cell compatibility. The results showed that the cytotoxicity of insulin-immobilized cadmium sulfide nanoparticles was significantly suppressed by usage of PEG as a spacer. In addition, cell proliferation was highly facilitated by the addition of ICSNPs. The ICSNPs used in this study will be potentials to be used in bio-imaging applications.

nanoparticles; immobilization; polyethylene glycol; insulin; cytotoxicity