Porphyrin-magnetite nanoconjugates for biological imaging
1 School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin, College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
2 Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, St. James's Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland
3 School of Physical Sciences, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NH
Journal of Nanobiotechnology 2011, 9:13 doi:10.1186/1477-3155-9-13Published: 8 April 2011
The use of silica coated magnetic nanoparticles as contrast agents has resulted in the production of highly stable, non-toxic solutions that can be manipulated via an external magnetic field. As a result, the interaction of these nanocomposites with cells is of vital importance in understanding their behaviour and biocompatibility. Here we report the preparation, characterisation and potential application of new "two-in-one" magnetic fluorescent nanocomposites composed of silica-coated magnetite nanoparticles covalently linked to a porphyrin moiety.
The experiments were performed by administering porphyrin functionalised silica-coated magnetite nanoparticles to THP-1 cells, a human acute monocytic leukaemia cell line. Cells were cultured in RPMI 1640 medium with 25 mM HEPES supplemented with heat-inactivated foetal bovine serum (FBS).
We have synthesised, characterised and analysed in vitro, a new multimodal (magnetic and fluorescent) porphyrin magnetic nanoparticle composite (PMNC). Initial co-incubation experiments performed with THP-1 macrophage cells were promising; however the PMNC photobleached under confocal microscopy study. β-mercaptoethanol (β-ME) was employed to counteract this problem and resulted not only in enhanced fluorescence emission, but also allowed for elongated imaging and increased exposure times of the PMNC in a cellular environment.
Our experiments have demonstrated that β-ME visibly enhances the emission intensity. No deleterious effects to the cells were witnessed upon co-incubation with β-ME alone and no increases in background fluorescence were recorded. These results should present an interest for further development of in vitro biological imaging techniques.