Surface charge effect in intracellular localization of mesoporous silica nanoparticles as probed by fluorescent ratiometric pH imaging

Yi Ping Chen, Hsueh An Chen, Yann Hung, Fan Ching Chien, Peilin Chen, Chung Yuan Mou

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47 Citations (Scopus)


Mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) have received intensive recent interest as multi-functional nanocarriers for biological cells and tissues. Their cell uptake and intracellular distribution depends on the surface charge they carry. We develop a new approach for monitoring their uptake and intracellular localization by measuring the local pH value of the MSNs. We synthesized a ratiometric pH-sensor loaded with mesoporous silica nanoparticles that can map the location of the MSN through the site pH in HeLa cells. Positively charged MSN-TA was found to locate in higher pH regions which are identified as cytosol mostly. On the other hand, negatively charged MSN-PPs were trapped in acidic endosomes. Evidence is given for direct penetration of membranes through a charge-mediated membrane-nanoparticle interaction mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)968-973
Number of pages6
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 7 2012
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Chemistry(all)

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