Photoacoustic Imaging-Trackable Magnetic Microswimmers for Pathogenic Bacterial Infection Treatment

Lisi Xie, Xin Pang, Xiaohui Yan, Qixuan Dai, Huirong Lin, Jing Ye, Yi Cheng, Qingliang Zhao, Xing Ma, Xianzhong Zhang, Gang Liu, Xiaoyuan Chen
ACS Nano2020
Micro/nanorobots have been extensively ex- plored as a tetherless small-scale robotic biodevice to perform minimally invasive interventions in hard-to-reach regions. Despite the emergence of versatile micro/nanorobots in recent years, matched in vivo development remains challenging, limited by unsatisfactory integration of core functions. Herein, we report a polydopamine (PDA)-coated magnetic micro- swimmer consisting of a magnetized Spirulina (MSP) matrix and PDA surface. Apart from the properties of the existing MSP (e.g., robust propulsion, natural fluorescence, tailored biode- gradation, and selective cytotoxicity), the introduced PDA coating enhances the photoacoustic (PA) signal and photothermal effect of the MSP, thus making PA image tracking and photothermal therapy possible. Meanwhile, the PDA’s innate fluorescence quenching and diverse surface reactivity allows an off−on fluorescence diagnosis with fluorescence probes (e.g., coumarin 7). As a proof of concept, real-time image tracking (by PA imaging) and desired theranostic capabilities of PDA-MSP microswimmer swarms are demonstrated for the treatment of pathogenic bacterial infection. Our study suggests a feasible antibacterial microrobot for in vivo development and a facile yet versatile functionalization strategy of micro/nanorobots.

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