Theranostics 2014; 4(5):534-545. doi:10.7150/thno.8188

Research Paper

Theranostic Au Cubic Nano-aggregates as Potential Photoacoustic Contrast and Photothermal Therapeutic Agents

Juan Hu1, Xianglong Zhu1, Hui Li2, Zhenghuan Zhao1, Xiaoqin Chi2, Guoming Huang1, Dengtong Huang1, Gang Liu3, Xiaomin Wang2, Jinhao Gao1,3✉

1. State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces, The MOE Key Laboratory of Spectrochemical Analysis & Instrumentation, The Key Laboratory for Chemical Biology of Fujian Province, and Department of Chemical Biology, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China.
2. Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Chronic Liver Disease and Hepatocellular Carcinoma, Zhongshan Hospital, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361004, China.
3. Center for Molecular Imaging and Translational Medicine, School of Public Health, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361102, China.

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Hu J, Zhu X, Li H, Zhao Z, Chi X, Huang G, Huang D, Liu G, Wang X, Gao J. Theranostic Au Cubic Nano-aggregates as Potential Photoacoustic Contrast and Photothermal Therapeutic Agents. Theranostics 2014; 4(5):534-545. doi:10.7150/thno.8188. Available from

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Multifunctional nanostructures combining diagnosis and therapy modalities into one entity have drawn much attention in the biomedical applications. Herein, we report a simple and cost-effective method to synthesize a novel cubic Au nano-aggregates structure with edge-length of 80 nm (Au-80 CNAs), which display strong near-infrared (NIR) absorption, excellent water-solubility, good photothermal stability, and high biocompatibility. Under 808 nm laser irradiation for 5 min, the temperature of the solution containing Au-80 CNAs (100 μg/mL) increased by ~38 °C. The in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrated that Au-80 CNAs could act as both photothermal therapeutic (PTT) agents and photoacoustic imaging (PAI) contrast agents, indicating that the only one nano-entity of Au-80 CNAs shows great potentials for theranostic applications. Moreover, this facile and cost-effective synthetic method provides a new strategy to prepare stable Au nanomaterials with excellent optical properties for biomedical applications.

Keywords: Au cubic nano-aggregates, near-infrared absorption, theranostics, photothermal therapy, photoacoustic imaging.