Doxorubicin-conjugated quantum dots to target alveolar macrophages and inflammation

Krishnan V. Chakravarthy, Bruce A. Davidson, Jadwiga D. Helinski, Hong Ding, Wing Cheung Law, Ken Tye Yong, Paras N. Prasad, Paul R. Knight

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


The ability to provide targeted therapeutic delivery in the lung would be a major advancement in pharmacological treatments for many pulmonary diseases. Critical issues for such successful delivery would require the ability to target specific cell types, minimize toxicity (e.g., inflammatory response), and deliver therapeutic levels of drugs. We report here on the ability of nanoconjugates of CdSe/CdS/ZnS quantum dots (QDs) and doxorubicin (Dox) to target alveolar macrophages (aMØs), cells that play a critical role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory lung injuries. Confocal imaging showed the release of Dox from the QD-Dox nanoconjugate, as was evident by its accumulation in the cell nucleus and induction of apoptosis, implying that the drug retains its bioactivity after coupling to the nanoparticle. Inflammatory injury parameters (albumin leakage, proinflammatory cytokines, and neutrophil infiltration) were recorded after in vivo administration of QD-Dox and Dox, observing no significant effect after QD-Dox treatment compared with Dox. These results demonstrate that nanoparticle platforms can provide targeted macrophage-selective therapy for the treatment of pulmonary disease. From the Clinical Editor: Pulmonary inflammatory diseases still often remain challenging to treat, despite decades of advances and several available agents. In this study, a quantum dot-based alveolar delivery system is presented, targeting macrophages with doxorubicin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-96
Number of pages9
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Alveolar macrophages
  • Cytokines
  • Drug delivery
  • Inflammation
  • Quantum dots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Pharmaceutical Science

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