Nanoparticle regrowth enhances photoacoustic signals of semiconducting macromolecular probe for in vivo imaging
Date of Issue2017
School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
Smart molecular probes that emit deep-tissue penetrating photoacoustic (PA) signals responsive to the target of interest are imperative to understand disease pathology and develop innovative therapeutics. This study reports a self-assembly approach to develop semiconducting macromolecular activatable probe for in vivo imaging of reactive oxygen species (ROS). This probe comprises a near-infrared absorbing phthalocyanine core and four poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) arms linked by ROS-responsive self-immolative segments. Such an amphiphilic macromolecular structure allows it to undergo an ROS-specific cleavage process to release hydrophilic PEG and enhance the hydrophobicity of the nanosystem. Consequently, the residual phthalocyanine component self-assembles and regrows into large nanoparticles, leading to ROS-enhanced PA signals. The small size of the intact macromolecular probe is beneficial to penetrate into the tumor tissue of living mice, while the ROS-activated regrowth of nanoparticles prolongs the retention along with enhanced PA signals, permitting imaging of ROS during chemotherapy. This study thus capitalizes on stimuli-controlled self-assembly of macromolecules in conjunction with enhanced heat transfer in large nanoparticles for the development of smart molecular probes for PA imaging.
© 2017 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Advanced Materials, WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/adma.201703693].