Polyethylenimine-mediated synthetic insertion of gold nanoparticles into mesoporous silica nanoparticles for drug loading and biocatalysis.Biointerphases 2017; 12(1):011005B
Mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNPs) have been used as an efficient and safe carrier for drug delivery and biocatalysis. The surface modification of MSNPs using suitable reagents may provide a robust framework in which two or more components can be incorporated to give multifunctional capabilities (e.g., synthesis of noble metal nanoparticles within mesoporous architecture along with loading of a bioactive molecule). In this study, the authors reported on a new synthetic route for the synthesis of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) within (1) unmodified MSNPs and (2) 3-trihydroxysilylpropyl methylphosphonate-modified MSNPs. A cationic polymer, polyethylenimine (PEI), and formaldehyde were used to mediate synthetic incorporation of AuNPs within MSNPs. The AuNPs incorporated within the mesoporous matrix were characterized by transmission electron microscopy, energy dispersive x-ray analysis, and high-resolution scanning electron microscopy. PEI in the presence of formaldehyde enabled synthetic incorporation of AuNPs in both unmodified and modified MSNPs. The use of unmodified MSNPs was associated with an increase in the polycrystalline structure of the AuNPs within the MSNPs. The AuNPs within modified MSNPs showed better catalytic activity than those within unmodified MSNPs. MSNPs with an average size of 200 nm and with a pore size of 4-6 nm were used for synthetic insertion of AuNPs. It was found that the PEI coating enabled AuNPs synthesis within the mesopores in the presence of formaldehyde or tetrahydrofuran hydroperoxide at a temperature between 10 and 25 °C or at 60 °C in the absence of organic reducing agents. The as-made AuNP-inserted MSNPs exhibited enhanced catalytic activity. For example, these materials enabled rapid catalytic oxidation of the o-dianisidine substrate to produce a colored solution in proportion to the amount of H2O2 generated as a function of glucose oxidase-catalyzed oxidation of glucose; a linear concentration range from 80 to 800 μM and a detection limit as low as 80 μM were observed. The mesoscale pores of the as developed AuNP-inserted MSNPs were also used to entrap the hydrophobic drug paclitaxel. The results of this study indicate the potential use of the AuNP-inserted MSNPs in biocatalysis and drug delivery.