The feasibility of using gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) for biomedical applications has led to considerable interest in the development of novel synthetic protocols and surface modification strategies for AuNPs to produce biocompatible molecular probes. This investigation is, to our knowledge, the first to elucidate the synthesis and characterization of sodium hexametaphosphate (HMP)-stabilized gold nanoparticles (Au-HMP) in an aqueous medium. The role of HMP, a food additive, as a polymeric stabilizing and protecting agent for AuNPs is elucidated. The surface modification of Au-HMP nanoparticles was carried out using polyethylene glycol and transferrin to produce molecular probes for possible clinical applications. Invitro cell viability studies performed using as-synthesized Au-HMP nanoparticles and their surface-modified counterparts reveal the biocompatibility of the nanoparticles. The transferrin-conjugated nanoparticles have significantly higher cellular uptake in J5 cells (liver cancer cells) than control cells (oral mucosa fibroblast cells), as determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. This study demonstrates the possibility of using an inexpensive and non-toxic food additive, HMP, as a stabilizer in the large-scale generation of biocompatible and monodispersed AuNPs, which may have future diagnostic and therapeutic applications. © 2011 IOP Publishing Ltd.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering