Photoresponsive delivery systems that are activated by high energy photo-triggers have been accorded much attention because of the capability to achieve reliable photoreactions at short irradiation times. However, the application of a high energy photo-trigger (UV light) is not clinically
viable. Meanwhile, the process of photon-upconversion is an effective strategy to generate a high energy photo-trigger (in-situ) through exposure to clinically relevant near-infrared (NIR) light. In this regard, we synthesized photon upconverting nanocrystals (UCNCs) that were subsequently
loaded into photoresponsive nanoparticles (NPs) that were prepared using alkoxyphenacyl-based polycarbonate homopolymer (UCNC-APP-NPs). UCNC loading affected resultant NP size, size distribution, colloidal stability but not the zeta potential. The efficiency of NIR-modulated drug delivery
was impacted by the heterogenetic nature of the resultant UCNC-APP-NPs which was plausibly formed through a combination of UCNC entrapment within the polymeric NP matrix and nucleation of polymer coating on the surface of the UCNCs. The biocompatibility of UCNC-APP-NPs was demonstrated through
cytotoxicity, macrophage activation, and red blood cell lysis assays. Studies in tumor-bearing (nu/nu) athymic mice showed a negligible distribution of UCNC-APP-NPs to reticuloendothelial tissues. Further, distribution of UCNC-APP-NPs to various tissues was in the order (highest to lowest):
Lungs > Tumor > Kidneys > Liver > Spleen > Brain > Blood > Heart. In all, the work highlighted some important factors that may influence the effectiveness, reproducibility and biocompatibility of drug delivery systems that operate on the process of photon-upconversion.
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Document Type: Research Article
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy Northeast Ohio Medical University, Rootstown, OH 44272, USA
Department of Polymer Science, The University of Akron, Akron, OH 44325, USA
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH 44555, USA
Publication date: 01 July 2017
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