5 years ago

Construction of Hierarchical Polymer Brushes on Upconversion Nanoparticles via NIR-Light-Initiated RAFT Polymerization

Construction of Hierarchical Polymer Brushes on Upconversion Nanoparticles via NIR-Light-Initiated RAFT Polymerization
Ziyong Cheng, Zhongxi Xie, Jun Lin, Pingan Ma, Shanshan Huang, Zhiyao Hou, Xiaoran Deng, Shifang Luan, Bei Liu
Photoinduced reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization generally adopts high-energy ultraviolet (UV) or blue light. In combination with photoredox catalyst, the excitation light wavelength was extended to the visible and even near-infrared (NIR) region for photoinduced electron transfer RAFT polymerization. In this report, we introduce for the first time a surface NIR-light-initiated RAFT polymerization on upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) without adding any photocatalyst and construct a functional inorganic core/polymer shell nanohybrid for application in cancer theranostics. The multilayer core–shell UCNPs (NaYF4:Yb/Tm@NaYbF4:Gd@NaNdF4:Yb@NaYF4), with surface anchorings of chain transfer agents, can serve as efficient NIR-to-UV light transducers for initiating the RAFT polymerization. A hierarchical double block copolymer brush, consisting of poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) and poly(oligo(ethylene oxide)methacrylate-co-2-(2-methoxy-ethoxy)ethyl methacrylate) (PEG for short), was grafted from the surface in sequence. The targeting arginine–glycine–aspartic (RGD) peptide was modified at the end of the copolymer through the trithiolcarbonate end group. After loading of doxorubicin, the UCNPs@PAA-b-PEG-RGD exhibited an enhanced U87MG cancer cell uptake efficiency and cytotoxicity. Besides, the unique upconversion luminescence of the nanohybrids was used for the autofluoresence-free cell imaging and labeling. Therefore, our strategy verified that UCNPs could efficiently activate RAFT polymerization by NIR photoirradiation and construct the complex nanohybrids, exhibiting prospective biomedical applications due to the low phototoxicity and deep penetration of NIR light.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.7b09124

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b09124

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