Engineering discoidal polymeric nanoconstructs with enhanced magneto-optical properties for tumor imaging

Jaehong Key, Santosh Aryal, Francesco Gentile, Jeyarama S. Ananta, Meng Zhong, Melissa D. Landis, Paolo Decuzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The invivo performance of nanoparticles is affected by their size, shape and surface properties. Fabrication methods based on emulsification and nano-precipitation cannot control these features precisely and independently over multiple scales. Herein, discoidal polymeric nanoconstructs (DPNs) with a diameter of 1000nm and a height of 500nm are demonstrated via a modified hydrogel-template strategy. The DPNs are obtained by mixing in one synthesis step the constituent polymers - poly(lactic acid-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) and polyethylene glycol (PEG) dimethacrylate - and the payload with magneto-optical properties - 5nm ultra-small super-paramagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIOs) and Rhodamine B dye (RhB). The DPN geometrical features are characterized by multiple microscopy techniques. The release of the Rhodamine B dye is pH dependent and increases under acidic conditions by the enhanced hydrolysis of the polymeric matrix. Each DPN is loaded with ~100fg of iron and can be efficiently dragged by static and external magnetic fields. Moreover, the USPIO confinement within the DPN porous structure is responsible for a significant enhancement in MRI relaxivity (r2~500 (mMs)-1), up to ~5 times larger than commercially available systems. These nanoconstructs suggest a general strategy to engineer theranostic systems for anti-angiogenic treatment and vascular imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5402-5410
Number of pages9
Issue number21
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Multi-modal imaging
  • Nanoparticle shape
  • Polymeric nanoparticles
  • Relaxivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Biophysics


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