Solvent-free atom transfer radical polymerization for the preparation of poly(poly(ethyleneglycol) monomethacrylate)-grafted Fe3O4 nanoparticles: synthesis, characterization and cellular uptake

Qu-Li Fan, Koon-Gee Neoh, En-Tang Kang, Borys Shuter, Shih-Chang Wang
Biomaterials 2007, 28 (36): 5426-36
Poly(poly(ethyleneglycol) monomethacrylate) (P(PEGMA))-grafted magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) were successfully prepared via a solvent-free atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) method. The macroinitiators were immobilized on the surface of 6.4+/-0.8 nm Fe(3)O(4) nanoparticles via effective ligand exchange of oleic acid with 3-chloropropionic acid (CPA), which rendered the nanoparticles soluble in the PEGMA monomer. The so-obtained P(PEGMA)-grafted MNPs have a uniform hydrodynamic particle size of 36.0+/-1.2 nm. The successful grafting of P(PEGMA) on the MNP surface was ascertained from FTIR and XPS analyses. The uptake of the MNPs by macrophage cells is reduced by two-orders of magnitude to <2 pg Fe/cell after surface grafting with P(PEGMA). Furthermore, the morphology and viability of the macrophage cells cultured in a medium containing 0.2 mg/mL of P(PEGMA)-grafted MNPs were found similar to those of cells cultured without nanoparticles, indicating an absence of significant cytotoxicity effects. T(2)-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of P(PEGMA)-grafted MNPs showed that the magnetic resonance signal is enhanced significantly with increasing nanoparticle concentration in water. The R(1) and R(2) values per millimole Fe, and R(2)/R(1) value of the P(PEGMA)-grafted MNPs were calculated to be 8.8 mm(-1)s(-1), 140 mm(-1)s(-1), and 16, respectively. These results indicate that the P(PEGMA)-grafted MNPs have great potential for application in MRI of specific biotargets.

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