Gadolinium-functionalized nanographene oxide for combined drug and microRNA delivery and magnetic resonance imaging

Hung Wei Yang, Chiung Yin Huang, Chih Wen Lin, Hao Li Liu, Chia Wen Huang, Shih Sheng Liao, Pin Yuan Chen, Yu Jen Lu, Kuo Chen Wei, Chen Chi M. Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Citations (Scopus)


The delivery of anti-cancer therapeutics to tumors at clinically effective concentrations, while avoiding nonspecific toxicity, remains a major challenge for cancer treatment. Here we present nanoparticles of poly(amidoamine) dendrimer-grafted gadolinium-functionalized nanographene oxide (Gd-NGO) as effective carriers to deliver both chemotherapeutic drugs and highly specific gene-targeting agents such as microRNAs (miRNAs) to cancer cells. The positively charged surface of Gd-NGO was capable of simultaneous adsorption of the anti-cancer drug epirubicin (EPI) and interaction with negatively charged Let-7g miRNA. Using human glioblastoma (U87) cells as a model, we found that this conjugate of Let-7g and EPI (Gd-NGO/Let-7g/EPI) not only exhibited considerably higher transfection efficiency, but also induced better inhibition of cancer cell growth than Gd-NGO/Let-7g or Gd-NGO/EPI. The concentration of Gd-NGO/Let-7g/EPI required for 50% inhibition of cellular growth (IC50) was significantly reduced (to the equivalent of 1.3μg/mL EPI) compared to Gd-NGO/EPI (3.4μg/mL EPI). In addition, Gd-NGO/Let-7g/EPI could be used as a contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging to identify the location and extent of blood-brain barrier opening and quantitate drug delivery to tumor tissues. These results suggest that Gd-NGO/Let-7g/EPI may be a promising non-viral vector for chemogene therapy and molecular imaging diagnosis in future clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6534-6542
Number of pages9
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Aug

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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