Core-shell-corona doxorubicin-loaded superparamagnetic Fe3O4 nanoparticles for cancer theranostics

A. Semkina, M. Abakumov, N. Grinenko, A. Abakumov, A. Skorikov, E. Mironova, G. Davydova, A. G. Majouga, N. Nukolova, A. Kabanov, V. Chekhonin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Superparamagnetic iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) are successfully used as contrast agents in magnetic-resonance imaging. They can be easily functionalized for drug delivery functions, demonstrating great potential for both imaging and therapeutic applications. Here we developed new pH-responsive theranostic core-shell-corona nanoparticles consisting of superparamagentic Fe3O4 core that displays high T2 relaxivity, bovine serum albumin (BSA) shell that binds anticancer drug, doxorubicin (Dox) and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) corona that increases stability and biocompatibility. The nanoparticles were produced by adsorption of the BSA shell onto the Fe3O4 core followed by crosslinking of the protein layer and subsequent grafting of the PEG corona using monoamino-terminated PEG via carbodiimide chemistry. The hydrodynamic diameter, zeta-potential, composition and T2 relaxivity of the resulting nanoparticles were characterized using transmission electron microscopy, dynamic light scattering, thermogravimetric analysis and T2-relaxometry. Nanoparticles were shown to absorb Dox molecules, possibly through a combination of electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions. The loading capacity (LC) of the nanoparticles was 8wt.%. The Dox loaded nanoparticles release the drug at a higher rate at pH 5.5 compared to pH 7.4 and display similar cytotoxicity against C6 and HEK293 cells as the free Dox.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1073-1080
Number of pages8
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Anticancer therapy
  • Doxorubicin
  • Drug delivery
  • Magnetic nanoparticles
  • MRI-contrast agents


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