Temperature responsive fluorescent polymer nanoparticles (TRFNPs) for cellular imaging and controlled releasing of drug to living cells

Ziang Zhang, Di Zhang, Lin Wei, Xi Wang, Yueling Xu, Hung Wing LI, Ming Ma*, Bo Chen, Lehui Xiao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies have demonstrated that drug delivery by using functional nanomaterials with imaging capability could afford plenty of insightful information for the better control of the delivery process. In this work, we developed temperature responsive fluorescent nanoparticles (TRFNPs) for drug delivery and cellular imaging. The TRFNP was fabricated by one-pot co-precipitation of thermal sensitive amphiphilic block copolymers polystyrene-b-poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) (PS-b-PNIPAM) and fluorescent conjugated polymer poly [(9,9-dioctylfluorenyl-2,7-diyl)-alt-co-(1,4-benzo(2,1′,3)-thiadiazole)] (PFBT) in the presence of desired small guest molecules. The dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurements verified that this functional nanoparticle exhibited temperature dependent size variation, which could therefore regulate the releasing rate of loaded guest molecules (e.g. drugs) inside the polymer core. Besides, the TRFNPs displayed good photostability in terms of optical characterization. The cellular cytotoxicity characterization demonstrated that this nanoparticle exhibited good biocompatibility even under the mass concentration of 10 μg/mL. By using Nile Red as a model molecule, the temperature-controlled releasing process from TRFNPs in solution as well as inside living cells was monitored directly according to the spectroscopic and microscopic characterizations. Furthermore, anti-cancer drug was successfully delivered into living cells via TRFNPs and released in a temperature dependent manner. As a consequence, owing the attractive merits as mentioned above, this nanostructure would find broad applications in nanomedicine in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-912
Number of pages8
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • Amphiphilic block copolymer
  • Controlled release
  • Fluorescence imaging
  • Fluorescent polymer nanoparticle
  • Thermo-responsive


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