[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: NanoChlor, a nanoparticle-based fluorescent probe for chloride that is both ratiometric and capable of spontaneously penetrating neuronal cells at submillimolar concentrations, was designed and studied. NanoChlor is built on silica nanoparticles grafted with 6-methoxyquinolinium as the chloride-sensitive component and fluorescein as the reference dye. A Stern-Volmer constant of 50 M(-1) was measured in Ringer's buffer at pH 7.2, and the response to chemically induced chloride currents was recorded in real time in hippocampal cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A surfactant-free synthesis of mesoporous and hollow silica nanoparticles is reported in which boron acts as the templating agent. Using such a simple and mild procedure as a treatment with water, the boron-rich phase is selectively removed, affording mesoporous pure silica nanoparticles with wormhole-like pores or, depending on the synthetic conditions, silica nanoshells.
Chemical Communications 12/2009; DOI:10.1039/b917561j · 6.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nanosized objects made of various materials are gaining increasing attention as promising vehicles for the delivery of therapeutic and diagnostic agents for cancer. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) appears to offer a very attractive opportunity to implement drug delivery systems since no release of the sensitizer is needed to obtain the therapeutic effect and the design of the nanovehicle should be much easier. The aim of our study was to investigate the use of organic-modified silica nanoparticles (NPs) for the delivery of the second-generation photosensitizer meta-tetra(hydroxyphenyl)chlorin (mTHPC) to cancer cells in vitro. mTHPC was entrapped in NPs (approximately 33 nm diameter) in a monomeric form which produced singlet oxygen with a high efficiency. In aqueous media with high salt concentrations, the NPs underwent aggregation and precipitation but their stability could be preserved in the presence of foetal bovine serum. The cellular uptake, localization and phototoxic activity of mTHPC was determined comparatively in human oesophageal cancer cells after its delivery by the NPs and the standard solvent ethanol/poly(ethylene glycol) 400/water (20:30:50, by vol). The NP formulation reduced the cellular uptake of mTHPC by about 50% in comparison to standard solvent while it did not affect the concentration-dependent photokilling activity of mTHPC and its intracellular localization. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer measurements, using NPs with mTHPC physically entrapped and a cyanine covalently linked, and ultracentrifugation experiments indicated that mTHPC is transferred from NPs to serum proteins when present in the medium. However, the coating of the NP surface with poly(ethylene glycol) largely prevented the transfer to proteins. In conclusion, mTHPC is rapidly transferred from the uncoated nanoparticles to the serum proteins and then internalized by the cells as a protein complex, irrespective of its modality of delivery.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Silica nanoparticles (60 nm diameter) doped with fluorescent dyes and functionalized on the surface with thiol groups have been proved to be efficient fluorescent chemosensors for Pb2+ ions. The particles can detect a 1 microM metal ion concentration with a good selectivity, suffering only interference from Cu2+ ions. Analyte binding sites are provided by the simple grafting of the thiol groups on the nanoparticles. Once bound to the particles surface, the Pb2+ ions quench the emission of the reporting dyes embedded. Sensor performances can be improved by taking advantage of the ease of production of multishell silica particles. On one hand, signaling units can be concentrated in the external shells, allowing a closer interaction with the surface-bound analyte. On the other, a second dye can be buried in the particle core, far enough from the surface to be unaffected by the Pb2+ ions, thus producing a reference signal. In this way, a ratiometric system is easily prepared by simple self-organization of the particle components.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A template-assisted sol–gel procedure was developed and optimised for the preparation of silica thin films embedding the fluorescent dye 3-(dansylamido)-propyl-triethoxysilane (DNS-APTES) for Cu(II) sensing purposes. The different parameters involved (solution composition, nature of the template, deposition and annealing conditions, post-synthesis deposition of additional coatings, etc.) were independently changed in order to evaluate their effect on the final microstructure, composition and sensor performances of the films. The optimisation procedure encompassed also the choice of the suitable parameters to ensure stability of the sensing films and to avoid the leaching of the fluorescent dye.Films prepared by using the non-ionic surfactant F127, without an additional coating and with a post-deposition annealing at 100 °C for 2 h, were proven to be the best performing ones, characterised by the largest and fastest fluorescence quenching. In particular, the presence of a template was demonstrated to play a major role in determining the efficiency of the sensing device. The surface and in-depth composition of thin films was analysed by X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) and Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS). The sensing performances of the films were tested by titration experiments with Cu2+.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Silica nanoparticles (about 15 nm diameters), which contain a derivative of 6-methoxy-8-(p-toluensulfonamido)-quinoline (TSQ) as a Zn(II) fluorescent probe covalently linked to the silica network, were prepared and studied as Zn(II) fluorescent chemosensors. The systems selectively detect Zn(II) ions in water rich solutions with a submicromolar sensitivity: 0.13 microM concentrations of Zn(II) can be measured with the only interference of Cu(II) and Cd(II) ions. Compared with free TSQ, the nanoparticles based systems have the advantage that they can be employed in aqueous solutions without aggregation problems while at the same time, they maintain a similar Zn(II) affinity and sensing ability. Addition of a second, substrate insensitive, fluorophore to the particles leads to the realization of a ratiometric sensor.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The self-organization of fluorescent dyes and receptors on a proper template to form an organized assembly is a new strategy for the realization of fluorescence chemosensors. In the assembly, the two subunits do not interact directly and the communication between the bound substrate and the dye is only determined by their spatial closeness ensured by the template. The method is simple and the main advantages are related to the minimization of the synthetic work, the ease of modification and optimization of the sensor, the possibility to tune its properties by the simple adjustment of the components ratio. Self-organizing methodologies can open new perspectives to fluorescence chemosensors, both by allowing a simplified preparation and by opening the way to new and more complex functions. This article deals with this new approach and discusses its evolution, applications, and limitations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is great interest in the self-organization of the proper subunits as a new strategy for the realization of fluorescent chemosensors. In this article, it is shown that commercially available fluorescent dyes, functionalized with triethoxysilane moieties, can be converted into fluorescent chemosensors by simple inclusion into silica nanostructures. Dye-doped silica nanoparticles and thin films detect Cu(II) ions in the micromolar range by the quenching of fluorescence emission. The different response toward Zn(II), Ni(II), and Co(II) metal ions was also investigated and is reported. The self-organization of the silica structures leads, at the same time, to the formation of metal ion binding sites as well as to the linking of a fluorescent reporter in their proximity. Structural features of the materials, particularly particle size and network porosity, strongly affect their ability to act as fluorescent sensors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A selective Al3+ fluorescence chemosensor able to detect concentrations of metal ion in the nanomolar range has been realized. The remarkable sensitivity is the result of the FRET amplification of the fluorescence emission of the ligand subunit.