Mesoporous silica nanoparticles, MSNs, have emerged as an interesting carrier for drugs in vitro and in vivo. The particles are typically used in a surface functionalized form, where functional silanes or other covalently linked surface functions are used to provide anchoring sites for additional functionalities like targeting groups, imaging agents, and drugs. Here, we report results related to extra- and intracellular degradation of silica nanoparticles using multilabeled nonporous silica core-mesoporous silica shell-surface hyperbranched poly(ethylene imine) shell nanoparticles as model particles. Different fluorophores have been selectively covalently linked to different regions of the particles in order to study the particle degradation in detail under in vitro conditions in human SAOS-2 cells. A novel, quantitative method for nanoparticle degradation evaluation based on confocal fluorescence microscopy is applied. Our results suggest that the core-shell-shell MSNs degrade at a higher rate inside cells as compared to outside cells, which is of high importance for further application of this class of drug carriers.
- fluorescence microscopy
- mesoporous silica nanoparticles
- surface functionalization