Istituto di Cristallografia - CNR

Green Light-Triggerable Chemo-Photothermal Activity of Cytarabine-Loaded Polymer Carbon Dots: Mechanism and Preliminary In Vitro Evaluation

Carbon-based nanostructures are attracting a lot of attention because of their very low toxicity, excellent visible light-triggered optical and photothermal properties, and intriguing applications. Currently, the development of multifunctional carbon-based nanostructures for a synergistic chemo-photothermal approach is a challenging topic for the advancement of cancer treatment. Here, we report an unprecedented example of photoresponsive carbon-based polymer dots (CPDs-PNM) obtained by a one-pot thermal process from poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) without using organic solvent and additional reagents. The CPDs-PNM nanostructures were characterized by spectroscopic techniques, transmission electron microscopy, and atomic force microscopy. The CPDs-PNM exhibited high photothermal conversion efficiency, lower critical solution temperature (LCST) behavior, and good cytarabine (arabinosyl cytosine, AraC) loading capacity (62.3%). The formation of a CPDs-PNM/AraC adduct and photothermal-controlled drug release, triggered by green light excitation, were demonstrated by spectroscopic techniques, and the drug-polymer interaction and drug release mechanism were well supported by modeling simulation calculations. The cellular uptake of empty and AraC-loaded CPDs-PNM was imaged by confocal laser scanning microscopy. In vitro experiments evidenced that CPDs-PNM did not affect the viability of neuroblastoma cells, while the CPDs-PNM/AraC adduct under light irradiation exhibited significantly higher toxicity than AraC alone by a combined chemo-photothermal effect.

ACS applied materials & interfaces (Online)
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Grazia M L Consoli, Maria Laura Giuffrida, Stefania Zimbone , Loredana Ferreri , Ludovica Maugeri, Michele Palmieri , Cristina Satriano, Giuseppe Forte, Salvatore Petralia.