Bioactive surface design based on conducting polymers and applications to biosensors

Erdem, Rengin
Quantum dots are fluorescent semiconductor nanocrystals that have unique optical properties such as high quantum yield and photostability. These nanoparticles are superior to organic dyes and fluorescent proteins in many aspects and therefore show great potential for both in vivo and in vitro imaging and drug delivery applications. However, cytototoxicity is still one of the major problems associated with their biological applications. The aim of this study is in vitro characterization and assessment of biological application potential of a novel silver sulfide quantum dot coated with mercaptopropionic acid (2-MPA). In vitro studies reported in this work were conducted on a mouse fibroblast cell line (NIH/3T3) treated with Ag2S/2-MPA quantum dots in 10-600 μg/mL concentration range for 24 h. Various fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy methods were used to determine metabolic activity, proliferation rate and apoptotic fraction of QD-treated cells as well as QD internalization efficiency and intracellular localization. Metabolic activity and proliferation rate of the QD treated cells were measured with XTT and CyQUANT® cell proliferation assays, respectively. Intracellular localization and qualitative uptake studies were conducted using confocal laser scanning microscopy. Apoptosis studies were performed with Annexin V assay. Finally, we also conducted a quantitative uptake assay to determine internalization efficiency of the silver sulfide particles. Correlated metabolic activity and proliferation assay results indicate that Ag2S/2-MPA quantum dots are highly cytocompatible with no significant toxicity up to 600 μg/mL treatment. Optimal cell imaging concentration was determined as 200 μg/mL. Particles displayed a punctuated cytoplasmic distribution indicating to endosomal entrapment. In vitro characterization studies reported in this study indicate that Ag2S/2-MPA quantum dots have great biological application potential due to their excellent spectral and cytocompatibility properties. Near-infrared emission of silver sulfide quantum dots provides a major advantage in imaging since signal interference from the cells (autofluorescence) which is a typical problem in microscopic studies is minimum in this part of the emission spectrum. The results of this study are presented in an article which was accepted by Journal of Materials Chemistry. DOI: 10.1039/C2JM31959D.