Science China Materials

, Volume 59, Issue 11, pp 892–900 | Cite as

In situ synthesis of gold nanostars within liposomes for controlled drug release and photoacoustic imaging

  • Malathi Mathiyazhakan
  • Paul Kumar Upputuri
  • Kathyayini Sivasubramanian
  • Ashish Dhayani
  • Praveen Kumar Vemula
  • Peichao Zou (邹培超)
  • Kanyi Pu (浦侃裔)
  • Cheng Yang (杨诚)
  • Manojit Pramanik
  • Chenjie Xu (徐臣杰)Email author


This report describes the design and synthesis of gold nanostars (AuNSs) containing liposomes by the in situ reduction of gold precursor, HAuCl4 (pre-encapsulated within the liposomes) through HEPES diffusion and reduction. Compared with the conventional process that encapsulates the pre-synthesized gold nanoparticles into liposomes during the thin-film hydration step, this facile and convenient method allows the formation and simultaneous encapsulation of AuNSs within liposomes. The absorption spectra of AuNSs can be tuned between visible and near infra-red (NIR) regions by controlling the size and morphology of AuNSs through varying the concentrations of HAuCl4 and HEPES. As a proof of concept, we demonstrate the synthesis of AuNSs with a maximum absorbance at 803 nmwithin the temperature-sensitive liposomes. These liposomes can produce stronger photoacoustic signals (1.5 fold) in the NIR region than blood. Furthermore, when there are drugs (i.e., doxorubicin) within these liposomes, the irradiation with the NIR pulse laser will disrupt the liposomes and trigger the 100% release of these pre-encapsulated drugs within 10 seconds. In comparison, there is neglectable contrast enhancement or minor release (10%) of drugs for the pure liposomes under the same conditions. Finally, cell experiment shows the potential therapeutic application of this system.


gold nanostars light sensitive liposomes controlled drug release photoacoustic imaging 



本文通过在脂质体内还原金的前体HAuCl4原位合成了金纳米星. 这种设计跟常用的在脂质体内装载金纳米球的方法相比, 优点是方 便快捷的同时实现了金纳米材料的形成和装载. 通过改变实验条件, 合成的金纳米星具有可控的尺寸, 以及在可见区到近红外区之间的可 控吸收光谱. 作为一个例子, 我们在脂质体内合成了最大吸收在803nm的金纳米星. 这种材料具有温度敏感性, 在近红外区可以产生比血液 好1.5倍的光声造影信号. 当我们把抗癌药物阿霉素装载到这种脂质体内时, 近红外区的激光照射可以在10秒内触发药物100%的释放. 相对应的, 不含纳米星的脂质体在同等条件下只能释放10%的药物, 也不具备光声造影的信号增强. 最后, 我们在癌细胞内测试了该脂质体的疗效, 初步验证了该体系的应用前景.



The work was partially supported by NTU-Northwestern Institute for Nanomedicine (To Xu CJ), the Tier-2 Grant funded by theMinistry of Education in Singapore (ARC2/15: M4020238 to M.P.). Dhayani A thanks UGC for junior research fellowship. Vemula PK thanks DBT for Ramalingaswami ReEntry fellowship. We appreciateMr. Stanley Sim Siong Wei to help us draw the illustration.

Supplementary material

40843_2016_5101_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (756 kb)
In Situ Synthesis of Gold Nanostars within Liposomes for Controlled Drug Release and Photoacoustic Imaging


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malathi Mathiyazhakan
    • 1
  • Paul Kumar Upputuri
    • 1
  • Kathyayini Sivasubramanian
    • 1
  • Ashish Dhayani
    • 2
  • Praveen Kumar Vemula
    • 2
    • 3
  • Peichao Zou (邹培超)
    • 4
  • Kanyi Pu (浦侃裔)
    • 1
  • Cheng Yang (杨诚)
    • 4
  • Manojit Pramanik
    • 1
  • Chenjie Xu (徐臣杰)
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Chemical & Biomedical EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingapore CitySingapore
  2. 2.Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), GKVK-CampusBangaloreIndia
  3. 3.Ramalingaswami Re-Entry Fellow, Department of BiotechnologyNew DelhiIndia
  4. 4.Division of Energy & Environment, Graduate School at ShenzhenTsinghua UniversityShenzhenChina
  5. 5.NTU-Northwestern Institute for NanomedicineNanyang Technological UniversitySingapore CitySingapore

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