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Nanomedicine. 2010 Jun;6(3):486-95. doi: 10.1016/j.nano.2009.11.004. Epub 2010 Jan 4.

Singlet oxygen-induced apoptosis of cancer cells using upconversion fluorescent nanoparticles as a carrier of photosensitizer.

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Division of Bioengineering, Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore.


The photodynamic effect of upconversion nanoparticles loaded with a photosensitizer was studied on murine bladder cancer cells (MB49). Mesoporous silica was coated onto sodium yttrium fluoride upconversion nanocrystals to form a core-shell structure and then loaded with the photosensitizer zinc (II)-phthalocyanine into the porous silica. The nanoparticles displayed a uniform spherical shape with an average diameter of about 50 nm and showed good dispersibility in water. Intracellular uptake study in MB49 cells revealed a time- and concentration-dependent accumulation of these nanoparticles. Upon irradiation with 980-nm near-infrared light, their efficiency in activating the loaded zinc (II)-phthalocyanine to generate singlet oxygen molecules was confirmed in live cells. The cytotoxic effect of the released singlet oxygen from the nanoplatform was proven by cell viability assay, confocal microscopy, DNA agarose gel electrophoresis, cytochrome c-releasing assay, and prostate-specific antigen-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, all of which showed a strong photodynamic effect of the nanoparticles on MB49 cells. This suggests the efficacy of sodium yttrium fluoride upconversion nanoparticles as a carrier for photosensitizers and their use in photodynamic therapy of cancer and some other diseases.


In this study, the photodynamic effect of upconversion nanoparticles loaded with a photosensitizer was investigated on murine bladder cancer cells, with strongly positive results, which may pave its way to future clinical use in malignant tumors and potentially other diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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