Synthesis and Characterization of Folate-decorated Cobalt Ferrite Nanoparticles
Coated with Poly(Ethylene Glycol) for Biomedical Applications
Mahtab Nasiri and Sayed Ali Hassanzadeh-Tabrizi
Advanced Materials Research Centre, Department of Materials Engineering, Najafabad Branch, Islamic Azad
University, Najafabad 8514143131, Iran
(Received: August 5, 2017; Accepted: September 28, 2017; Published Online: November 3, 2017; DOI: 10.1002/jccs.201700271)
A stable and biocompatible targeting complex CFNs@PEG-FA is developed. The initially synthe-
sized cobalt ferrite nanoparticles (CFNs) were treated with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) in order to
improve biocompatibility of the CFNs. Citric acid (CA) was used as the coupling agent, which
made PEG to bond with the CFNs. CFNs@PEG were conjugated with folic acid (FA) to synthe-
size CFNs@PEG-FA, which was capable of targeting the FA receptor positive (FAR+) cancer
cells. Synthesized nanoparticles were physically and chemically analyzed using EDX, FT-IR,
XRD, TGA, FESEM, TEM, DLS, and VSM. The biocompatibility of CFNs@PEG-FA was
assessed in vitro on HSF 1184 (human skin ﬁbroblast cells) and HeLa (human cervical cancer cell,
FAR+) using MTT assay and AO/EB staining ﬂorescence method. High level of CFNs@PEG-FA
binding to HeLa was conﬁrmed through quantitative and qualitative in vitro targeting studies.
Results show that CFNs@PEG-FA can be a potential biomaterial for use in biomedical trials,
especially magnetic hyperthermia. The ﬁndings through this in vitro study are to be compared in
future with those of in vivo studies.
Keywords: Cobalt ferrite nanoparticles; Biocompatibility; Bioconjugation; Targeting.
Cancer treatment has always been the matter of
debate among scientists and researchers, who are cur-
rently focusing of personalized therapy and designing a
system that can highly assist in the diagnosis and cure
of cancer. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation ther-
apy are the major treatment modalities available cur-
rently; however, they are not fully efﬁcient because of
the nonspeciﬁc nature of such treatments, killing nor-
mal cells and thereby seriously threatening the overall
health of patients. Over the last few decades, nanotech-
nology has emerged as a progressive biomedical thera-
nostic tool. Nanoparticles play an important role as
nano-platforms in detection, imaging, and drug delivery
applications. For instance, magnetic nanoparticles pos-
sess signiﬁcant properties that make them suitable can-
didates in targeted drug delivery, magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI), and magnetic hyperthermia.
Magnetic nanomaterials have attracted the atten-
tion of many researchers owing to their magnetic proper-
ties and relatively small size, which have made them
excellent candidates for biomedical applications.
Besides this, adequate biocompatibility, low cytotoxicity,
and colloidal stability are the basic requirements for such
materials to be optimally used in biomedical applica-
Cobalt ferrite nanoparticles (CoFe
) are inter-
esting magnetic nanomaterials that have opened up
certain avenues to targeted drug delivery because of their
unique physicochemical properties, low cytotoxicity, and
tunable magnetic properties.
Soler et al.
possesses adequate structural stability and
is reliable in biological applications as a magnetic drug
Also, the surface chemistry of the nanoparticles is
a key element in their biocompatibility.
zation of nanoparticles is entirely due to the existence
of hydrophobic charges and/or functions.
it has become a challenge to synthesize cobalt ferrite
nanoparticles (CFNs) with control over their sizes and
dispersibility in desired solvents. Bare nanoparticles
naturally have low circulation times in the blood and
magnetic retention, resulting in accumulation in tumor
*Corresponding author. Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
J. Chin. Chem. Soc. 2018, 65, 231–242
© 2017 The Chemical Society Located in Taipei & Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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