Send to

Choose Destination
ACS Nano. 2008 Dec 23;2(12):2481-8. doi: 10.1021/nn800466c.

Detoxification of gold nanorods by treatment with polystyrenesulfonate.

Author information

Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


We address an outstanding issue associated with the biocompatibility of gold nanorods (GNRs), a promising agent for biomedical imaging and theragnostics. GNRs are typically prepared in the presence of cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB), a cationic surfactant whose rigorous removal is necessary due to its cytotoxicity and membrane-compromising properties. CTAB-stabilized GNRs can be partially purified by treatment with polystyrenesulfonate (PSS), an anionic polyelectrolyte often used as a surrogate peptizing agent, followed by chloroform extraction and ultrafiltration with minimal loss of dispersion stability. However, in vitro cytotoxicity assays of PSS-coated GNRs revealed IC(50) values in the low to submicromolar range, with subsequent studies indicating the source of toxicity to be associated with a persistent PSS-CTAB complex. Further exchange of CTAB-laden PSS with fresh polyelectrolyte greatly improves biocompatibility, to the extent that 85 microg/mL of "CTAB-free" GNRs (the highest level evaluated) has comparable toxicity to a standard phosphate buffer solution. Ironically, PSS is not effective by itself at stabilizing GNRs in CTAB-depleted suspensions: while useful as a detergent for GNR detoxification, it should be replaced by more robust coatings for long-term stability under physiological conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Chemical Society Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center