Biocompatibility and biodistribution of surface-modified yttrium oxide nanoparticles for potential theranostic applications
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The surface of ultrafine yttrium oxide nanoparticles (NPs) with mean size of 7–8 nm was modified with a functional polymer layer to improve their dispersion and impart fluorescent properties for imaging purposes. Surface functionalization was achieved by silanization of yttrium oxide NPs with 3-trimethoxysilylpropyl methacrylate followed by grafting of a co-polymer made of acrylic acid (AA) and ethylene glycol methacrylate phosphate (EGMP). The polymer shell decreases the surface energy of NPs, enhances their polarity, and, as a result, improves their colloidal stability. The synthesized NPs are capable of scavenging free radicals and for this reason have therapeutic potential that warrants further investigations. Furthermore, these stabilized core–shell NPs showed a very low cytotoxicity, confirming that the polymer shell sensibly improves the biocompatibility of bare yttrium oxide NPs, which are otherwise toxic on their own. Poly-EGMP yttrium NPs proved to be safe up to 0.1 mg/g body weight in 1 month old Sprague–Dawley rats, showing also the ability to cross the blood–brain barrier short time after tail injection. The surface modification of yttrium NPs here described allows these NPs to be potentially used in theranostics to reduce neurodegenerative damage due to the heat stress.
KeywordsSurface modification Graft polymerization Core–shell Yttrium oxide nanoparticles Blood–brain barrier
This work was supported by the Science and Technology Development Fund (STDF), Short Term Fellowship-cycle 4, Egypt (grant number STF-6623).
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