Jutaek Nam, Nayoun Won, Jiwon Bang, Ho Jin, Joonhyuck Park, Sungwook Jung, Sanghwa Jung, Youngrong Park, Sungjee Kim*
Department of Chemistry, Pohang University of Science & Technology, San 31, Hyojadong, Namgu, Pohang 790?784, South Korea
*Corresponding author : Sungjee Kim
Many kinds of inorganic nanoparticles (NPs) including semiconductor, metal, metal oxide, and lanthanide-doped NPs have been developed for imaging and therapy applications. Their unique optical, magnetic, and electronic properties can be tailored by controlling the composition, size, shape, and structure. Interaction of such NPs with cells and/or in vivo compartments is critically determined by the surface properties, and sophisticated control over the NP surface is essential to control their fate in biological environments. We review NP surface coating strategies using the categories of small surface ligand, polymer, and lipid. Use of small ligand molecules has the advantage of maintaining the minimal hydrodynamic (HD) size. Polymers can be advantageous in NP anchoring by combining multiple affinity groups. Encapsulation of NPs in polymers, lipids or surfactants can preserve the as-synthesized NPs. NP surface properties and reaction conditions should be carefully considered to obtain a bioconjugate that maintains the physicochemical properties of NP and functionalities of the conjugated biomolecules. We highlight how the surface properties of NPs impact their interactions with cells and in vivo compartments, especially focused on the important surface design parameters such as HD size, surface charge, and targeting. Typically, maximal cellular uptake can take place in the intermediate NP size range of 40-60 nm. Clearance of NPs from blood circulation is largely dependent on the degree of uptake by reticuloendothelial system when they are larger than 10 nm. When the HD size is below 10 nm, NPs show broad distribution over many organs. Reduction of HD size below the limit of renal barrier can achieve fast clearance of NPs. For maximal tumor accumulation, NPs should have long blood circulation time and should be large enough to prevent rapid penetration. NPs are also desired to rapidly clear out from the body after the mission before they cause toxic side effects. However, efficient clearance from the body to avoid side effects may result in the reduction in residence time required for accumulation in target tissues. Smart design of NP surface coating that can meet the conflicting demands can open a new avenue of NP applications. Surface charge and hydrophobicity need to be carefully considered for NP surface design. Positively charged NPs more adsorb on cell membranes and consequently show higher level of internalizations when compared with negatively charged or neutral NPs. NPs encounter a large variety of biomolecules in vivo, where non-specific adsorptions can potentially alter the physicochemical properties of the NPs. For optimal performance, NPs are suggested to have neutral surface charge at physiological conditions, small HD size, and minimal non-specific adsorption levels. Zwitterionic NP surface coating by small surface ligands can be a promising approach. Toxicity is one of most critical issues, where proper control of the NP surface can significantly reduce the toxicities.
nanoparticle; surface; imaging; therapy; quantum dot; nanomedicine; hydrodynamic size; charge; targeting; conjugation