Light-activated gold nanorod vesicles with NIR-II fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging performances for cancer theranostics

Xiaoguang Ge, Qinrui Fu, Lichao Su, Zhi Li, Wenmin Zhang, Tao Chen, Huanghao Yang, Jibin Song
Fluorescence (FL) and photoacoustic (PA) imaging in the second near infrared window (NIR-II FL and NIR-II PA) hold great promise for biomedical applications because of their non-invasive nature and excellent spatial resolution properties. Methods: We develop a NIR-II PA and NIR-II FL dual-mode imaging gold nanorod vesicles (AuNR Ves) by self-assembly of amphiphilic AuNR coated with light responsive polyprodrug of Ru-complex and PEG, and NIR-II cyanine dye (IR 1061). The AuNR Ves showed strong ligh absorption property and PA imaging performance in the NIR-II windows. Moreover, the NIR-II fluorescence signal of IR 1061 loaded in the AuNR Ve is quenched. Results: The AuNR Ves can release photosensitizer Ru-complex and IR 1061 sequentially triggered by NIR light irradiation, leading to a corresponding NIR-II PA signal decrease and NIR-II FL signal recovery. Meanwhile, Ru-complex can not only serve as a chemotherapeutic drug but also generate singlet oxygen (1O2) under NIR light irradiation. The release of Ru-complex and photodynamic therapy are guided by the responsive variation of NIR-II PA and NIR-II FL signals. Conclusions: The AuNR Ve possessing not only precisely control 1O2/drug release but also the intrinsic ability to monitor therapy process offers a new strategy for the development of smart theranostic nanoplatform.

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