Multifunctional platforms based on upconversion nanoparticles for applications in nanomedicine

Authors: Nigoghossian, Karina
Advisor: Boudreau, Denis; Ribeiro, S. J. L.
Abstract: In the biomedical field, there is an increasing demand for multifunctional nanosystems to perform imaging and therapy simultaneously, aiming at early diagnosis and maximum therapeutic benefit. Upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) have been proposed as an ideal bio-probe because of their unique advantages related to the upconversion phenomenon presented by materials containing lanthanide ions, e.g. visible emission obtained under near-infrared (NIR) excitation, such as deep tissue penetration, low autofluorescence background and low photo-damage. Moreover, the luminescent properties of lanthanide ions may be used for thermometry because of a strongly temperature-dependent effect. Luminescence nanothermometry is a noncontact and high-resolution technique that has been gaining attention in nanomedicine since temperature is a fundamental parameter in events that occur in cells. The thermal damage of cells may be locally photoinduced by using metal nanostructures illuminated at their localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) band because of the enhancement of light absorption. In this work, a multifunctional system was designed combining gold nanoshells (AuNSs) and UCNPs intended as an optical heater and temperature probe at the nanoscale. This system was studied aiming its application as an agent for photothermal therapy (PTT), guided by the thermometer capacity of UCNPs, which allows to optimize the therapeutic benefits. The synthesis of NaGdF4 UCNPs doped with ions Yb3+:Er3+ was performed via the thermal decomposition of lanthanide ion fluoride precursors at high temperatures (>300 °C) in the presence of a coordinating ligand (oleic acid). UCNPs were synthesized at three different temperatures (310, 315 and 320 °C) and characterized in terms of morphological, structural and emission properties. In view of the intended biological applications, the surface of hydrophobic oleate-capped UCNPs was modified by a silica coating to achieve sufficient water dispersibility, through a modified Stöber process by a reverse micro-emulsion method. Monodisperse NaGdF4:Yb3+:Er3+ upconverting nanocrystals (~25 nm dia.) were obtained in cubic (at 310, 315 °C) and hexagonal phase (at 320 °C). The UCNPs in the hexagonal phase showed to be more suitable for application as a temperature sensor, because of its lower red-to-green emission ratio and higher thermal sensitivity. The emission spectra of NaGdF4:Yb3+:Er3+ (oleate- or silica-coated) UCNPs were measured at different temperatures in the vicinity of the physiological temperature range (20-70 °C) and presented suitable properties for application as a temperature sensor, such as excellent linearity (R2 >0.99) and sensitivity (>3 × 10−3 K−1). The surface of AuNSs were decorated with silica-coated UCNPs. The heating capacity of such nanocomposites (AuNSs@UCNPs) was verified by monitoring the Er3+ emission, enabling potential application as a hyperthermia agent controlled by the nanothermometer function. In a second part of this thesis, a multifunctional nanosystem was designed and applied as a dual sensor of ultraviolet (UV) light and temperature. Eu(tta)3 (tta-thenoyltrifluoroacetonate) complex was prepared in situ over the silica shell of NaGdF4:Yb3+:Er3+ UCNPs. A dual-mode nanothermometer-UV sensor was obtained from the combination of NIR to visible upconversion fluorescence signal of Er3+ ions and the UV-excited downshifted emission from the Eu(tta)3 complex. Measurements were performed near the physiological temperature range (2050 °C) revealing excellent linearity (R2 > 0.99) and relatively high thermal sensitivities (>1.5%·K−1). The Eu(tta)3 complex present in the silica shell was also demonstrated as a UV sensor because of the Eu3+ luminescence dependence on UV light exposure. The obtained material shows potential for application in light activated therapies, such as photodynamic therapy (PDT) and PTT, which typically require UV or blue light for excitation. The control of light dose released to the tissue is of great importance in these therapeutic procedures to avoid photodamage to the surroundings. The thermometer function is useful to guide such therapeutic processes (PDT and PTT) synergistically with the UV dosimeter.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2018
Open Access Date: 30 May 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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