Mesoporous NaYbF4@NaGdF4 core-shell up-conversion nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery and multimodal imaging

Liangjun Zhou, Xiaopeng Zheng, Zhanjun Gu, Wenyan Yin, Xiao Zhang, Longfei Ruan, Yanbo Yang, Zhongbo Hu, Yuliang Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


We developed a facile strategy to obtain a new kind of mesoporous core-shell structured up-conversion nanoparticles (mUCNPs), composed of a NaYbF4:2%Er core and a mesoporous NaGdF4 shell. This mesoporous shell not only enhanced the up-conversion luminescence but also endowed many other functionalities of the nanoparticles such as drug delivery and bio-imaging capabilities. Moreover, after being conjugated with polyethylenimine (PEI) and folic acid (FA), core-shell mUCNPs exhibited good water dispersibility, enhanced drug delivery efficiency, and remarkable targeting ability to cancer cells. To certify the folate receptors (FR)-mediated targeted drug delivery, cell viability assay, cell up-conversion luminescence imaging and flow cytometry analysis were carried out. Furthermore, apart from the application for targeted drug delivery, the as-prepared core-shell mUCNPs could also be employed as the contrast agents for X-ray computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, because of the strong X-ray attenuation ability of Yb and high longitudinal molar relaxivity (r1) of Gd in the nanoparticles, providing the potential for simultaneously bio-imaging and cancer-targeting therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7666-7678
Number of pages13
Issue number26
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Core-shell
  • Mesoporous
  • Multimodality biomedical imaging
  • Targeted drug delivery
  • Up-conversion nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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