Two-photon AIE probe conjugated theranostic nanoparticles for tumor bioimaging and pH-sensitive drug delivery

  • Boxuan Ma
  • Weihua Zhuang
  • Haiyang He
  • Xin Su
  • Tao Yu
  • Jun Hu
  • Li YangEmail author
  • Gaocan LiEmail author
  • Yunbing Wang
Research Article


Nanoparticles armed with chemotherapy drug and fluorescence probe have become an effective anticancer strategy for their advantages in cancer diagnosis and treatment. However, fluorophore for diagnostic medicine with deep penetration depth and high resolution are still very rare, while rational designs are also required to improve the tumor retention and target-site drug delivery. Herein, a two-photon fluorophore with aggregation-induced emission and large two-photon absorption cross-section has been designed for two-photon bioimaging, and a novel theranostic nanoplatform is also constructed based on doxorubicin and the two-photon fluorophore conjugated copolymer, P(TPMA-co-AEMA)-PEI(DA)-Blink-PEG (PAEEBlink-DA). The micelles maintain a “stealth” property during blood circulation and is activated in the acidic tumor microenvironment, which triggers the charge-conversion and results in enhanced micellar internalization. Meanwhile, PAEMA chains can convert from hydrophobicity to hydrophilicity with accelerated drug release and particle size expansion. The enlarged particle size would potentially extend the retention time of these micelles. Moreover, a great AIE active two-photon bioimaging with tissue penetration depth up to 150 µm is observed and the in vivo biodistribution of nanoparticles can be traced. The in vivo antitumor results further indicate the obvious reduction of adverse effect and enhanced treatment effect of these micelles, proving that these PAEEBlink-DA micelles would be a potential candidate for tumor theranostic applications.


polymeric micelle two-photon aggregation-induced emission pH-sensitive charge conversion tumor retention 


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This research was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21502129), the National 111 Project of Introducing Talents of Discipline to Universities (No. B16033), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation Funded Project (Nos. 2017M612956 and 2018T110969), the Key Technology Support Program of Sichuan Province (No. 2016SZ0004), and the State Key Laboratory of Polymer Materials Engineering (No. sklpme2018-3-05). We are grateful for the help of Mr. Chenghui Li (Analytical & Testing Center, Sichuan University) taking laser scanning confocal images.

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Two-photon AIE probe conjugated theranostic nanoparticles for tumor bioimaging and pH-sensitive drug delivery


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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Boxuan Ma
    • 1
  • Weihua Zhuang
    • 1
  • Haiyang He
    • 1
  • Xin Su
    • 1
  • Tao Yu
    • 1
  • Jun Hu
    • 1
  • Li Yang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gaocan Li
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yunbing Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.National Engineering Research Center for BiomaterialsSichuan UniversityChengduChina

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