Theranostics 2022; 12(8):3690-3702. doi:10.7150/thno.70841 This issue

Research Paper

NIR-II responsive PEGylated nickel nanoclusters for photothermal enhanced chemodynamic synergistic oncotherapy

Yong Qian1,2*, Jiahui Zhang1,2,5*, Jinglu Zou1,5*, Xingyu Wang1,2, Xiangfu Meng1,2, Hongji Liu1,2, Yefeng Lin1,2, Qianwang Chen1,2, Lei Sun3✉, Wenchu Lin1,5✉, Hui Wang1,2,4,5✉

1. High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei 230031, Anhui, P. R. China.
2. University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, 230026, Anhui, P. R. China.
3. Department of Stomatology, the Second Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei 230601, Anhui, P.R. China.
4. The Anhui Key Laboratory of Condensed Matter Physics at Extreme Conditions, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei 230031, Anhui, P. R. China.
5. Key Laboratory of High Magnetic Field and Ion Beam Physical Biology, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei 230031, Anhui, China.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

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Citation:
Qian Y, Zhang J, Zou J, Wang X, Meng X, Liu H, Lin Y, Chen Q, Sun L, Lin W, Wang H. NIR-II responsive PEGylated nickel nanoclusters for photothermal enhanced chemodynamic synergistic oncotherapy. Theranostics 2022; 12(8):3690-3702. doi:10.7150/thno.70841. Available from https://www.thno.org/v12p3690.htm

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Abstract

Graphic abstract

Rationale: All kinds of non-metal and metal-based nanozymes have been extensively explored as Fenton agents for Chemodynamic therapy (CDT). However, the low catalytic efficiency of non-metallic nanozymes and the susceptibility to oxidation and long-term toxicity of metallo-nanozymes limit their potential in CDT.

Methods: In this study, we report a magneto-solvothermal method to tune the crystallinity and shape of polyethylene glycol (PEG)-ylated urchin-like nickel nanoclusters (named as 9T-PUNNC) at a high magnetic field with an intensity of 9 T for enhanced combined photothermal-chemodynamic therapy.

Results: The needle-like protrusions on the surface of 9T-PUNNC can effectively increase the reception of NIR light in second NIR window (NIR-II) and transform it into local hyperthermia, achieving effective photothermal treatment. The light and heat generated by NIR-II further promotes the release of Ni2+ and improves the ability of Ni2+-mediated chemodynamic therapy (CDT). In addition, the surface coating of PEG on the surface of 9T-PUNNC improves its stability and biocompatibility of nanocrystals. In vitro and in vivo results indicate that the 9T-PUNNC could efficiently kill tumor cells (nearly 12 times more than control group) and inhibit tumor growth (nearly 9 times smaller than control group) under NIR-II irradiation through the synergistic effect of combined treatments.

Conclusions: we developed a novel synthetic strategy to tune crystallinity and shape of PUNNC for enhanced NIR-II responsive photothermal conversion efficiency and accelerated acid-induced dissolution for improved ·OH generation. Such 9T-PUNNC enable a combined chemodynamic-photothermal treatment to provide superior therapeutic efficacy due to their highly synergistic effect.

Keywords: urchin-like nanostructure, nickel nanocluster, NIR-II photothermal therapy, chemodynamic therapy, synergistic effect