Green and Facile Synthesis of Highly Photoluminescent Multicolor Carbon Nanocrystals for Cancer Therapy and Imaging

by Kajani, A. A.; Bordbar, A. K.; Mehrgardi, M. A.; Zarkesh-Esfahani, S. H.; Motaghi, H.; Kardi, M.; Khosropour, A. R.; Ozdemir, J.; Benamara, M.; Beyzavi, M. H.

Carbon dots (CDs), as a new generation of fluorescent nanoparticles, have been greatly considered for different biomedical applications. In the present study, a one-pot hydrothermal method was developed for the synthesis of a series of carbon dots (CDs) for cancer imaging and therapy. Taxane diterpenoids were utilized as the carbon source, different diamines were used as the nitrogen source, and folic acid was used as a targeting agent. High-quality photostable and multicolor (blue and green) carbon nanocrystals with a hexagonal shape, a narrow size distribution of less than 20 nm, and high fluorescence quantum yield of up to 50.4% were obtained from taxanes in combination with m-phenylenediamine and folic acid to give the best results. The nanoparticles displayed a potent anticancer activity with IC50 values of 31.3 +/- 2.7 and 34.1 +/- 1.1 mu g mL(-1) for the human MCF-7 and HeLa cancer cell lines, respectively, and IC50 value of 120.5 +/- 3.8 mu g mL(-1) on the normal human fibroblast cells. The flow cytometry studies determined apoptosis-mediated cell death as the main anticancer mechanism of CDs, and the molecular studies revealed the induction of both extrinsic and intrinsic apoptosis pathways. The overall results indicated the great potential of synthesized CDs for the simultaneous cancer imaging and therapy.

ACS Applied Bio Materials
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