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Carboxymethyl chitosan-folic acid-conjugated Fe3O4@SiO2 as a safe and targeting antitumor nanovehicle in vitro

Hongmei Li12, Zhen Li2, Jin Zhao2, Baoqiang Tang2, Yanhong Chen2, Yikun Hu2, Zhengda He2 and Yue Wang12*

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Laboratory of Coordination Chemistry, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210008, China

2 State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines, School of Sciences, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 211198, China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:146  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-146

Published: 25 March 2014


A synthetic method to prepare a core-shell-structured Fe3O4@SiO2 as a safe nanovehicle for tumor cell targeting has been developed. Superparamagnetic iron oxide is encapsulated inside nonporous silica as the core to provide magnetic targeting. Carboxymethyl chitosan-folic acid (OCMCS-FA) synthesized through coupling folic acid (FA) with OCMCS is then covalently linked to the silica shell and renders new and improved functions because of the original biocompatible properties of OCMCS and the targeting efficacy of FA. Cellular uptake of the nanovehicle was assayed by confocal laser scanning microscope using rhodamine B (RB) as a fluorescent marker in HeLa cells. The results show that the surface modification of the core-shell silica nanovehicle with OCMCS-FA enhances the internalization of nanovehicle to HeLa cells which over-express the folate receptor. The cell viability assay demonstrated that Fe3O4@SiO2-OCMCS-FA nanovehicle has low toxicity and can be used as an eligible candidate for drug delivery system. These unique advantages make the prepared core-shell nanovehicle promising for cancer-specific targeting and therapy.

Iron oxide; Surface functionalization; Tumor target; Surface modification