Biocompatible hyaluronic acid polymer-coated quantum dots for CD44+ cancer cell-targeted imaging

Hening Wang, Hongfang Sun, Hui Wei, Peng Xi, Shuming Nie, Qiushi Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cysteamine-modified hyaluronic acid (HA) polymer was employed to coat quantum dots (QDs) through a convenient one-step reverse micelle method, with the final QDs hydrodynamic size of around 22.6 nm. The HA coating renders the QDs with very good stability in PBS for more than 140 days and resistant to large pH range of 2–12. Besides, the HA-coated QDs also show excellent fluorescence stability in BSA-containing cell culture medium. In addition, the cell culture assay indicates no significant cytotoxicity for MD-MB-231 breast cancer cells, and its targeting ability to cancer receptor CD44 has been demonstrated on two breast cancer cell lines. The targeting mechanism was further proved by the HA competition experiment. This work has established a new approach to help solve the stability and toxicity problems of QDs, and moreover render the QDs cancer targeting property. The current results indicate that the HA polymer-coated QDs hold the potential application for both in vitro and in vivo cancer imaging researches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2621
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Biocompatibility
  • CD44 receptor
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Molecular imaging
  • Nanomedicine
  • Quantum dots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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