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Europium-doped amorphous calcium phosphate porous nanospheres: preparation and application as luminescent drug carriers

Feng Chen1, Ying-Jie Zhu1*, Kui-Hua Zhang2, Jin Wu1, Ke-Wei Wang1, Qi-Li Tang1 and Xiu-Mei Mo2

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Laboratory of High Performance Ceramics and Superfine Microstructure, Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200050, P. R. China

2 College of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Donghua University, Shanghai, 201620, P. R. China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:67  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-67

Published: 12 January 2011


Calcium phosphate is the most important inorganic constituent of biological tissues, and synthetic calcium phosphate has been widely used as biomaterials. In this study, a facile method has been developed for the fabrication of amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP)/polylactide-block-monomethoxy(polyethyleneglycol) hybrid nanoparticles and ACP porous nanospheres. Europium-doping is performed to enable photoluminescence (PL) function of ACP porous nanospheres. A high specific surface area of the europium-doped ACP (Eu3+:ACP) porous nanospheres is achieved (126.7 m2/g). PL properties of Eu3+:ACP porous nanospheres are investigated, and the most intense peak at 612 nm is observed at 5 mol% Eu3+ doping. In vitro cytotoxicity experiments indicate that the as-prepared Eu3+:ACP porous nanospheres are biocompatible. In vitro drug release experiments indicate that the ibuprofen-loaded Eu3+:ACP porous nanospheres show a slow and sustained drug release in simulated body fluid. We have found that the cumulative amount of released drug has a linear relationship with the natural logarithm of release time (ln(t)). The Eu3+:ACP porous nanospheres are bioactive, and can transform to hydroxyapatite during drug release. The PL properties of drug-loaded nanocarriers before and after drug release are also investigated.