Journal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release Society

Structural profiling and biological performance of phospholipid-hyaluronan functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes.

PMID 23764531


In spite of significant insolubility and toxicity, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) erupt into the biomedical research, and create an increasing interest in the field of nanomedicine. Single-walled CNTs (SWCNTs) are highly hydrophobic and have been shown to be toxic while systemically administrated. Thus, SWCNTs have to be functionalized to render water solubility and biocompatibility. Herein, we introduce a method for functionalizing SWCNT using phospholipids (PL) conjugated to hyaluronan (HA), a hydrophilic glycosaminoglycan, with known receptors on many types of cancer and immune cells. This functionalization allowed for CNT solubilization, endowed the particles with stealth properties evading the immune system, and reduced immune and mitochondrial toxicity both in vitro and in vivo. The CNT-PL-HA internalized into macrophages and showed low cytotoxicity. In addition, CNT-PL-HA did not induce an inflammatory response in macrophages as evidenced by the cytokine profiling and the use of image-based high-content analysis approach in contrast to non-modified CNTs. In addition, systemic administration of CNT-PL-HA into healthy C57BL/6 mice did not alter the total number of leukocytes nor increased liver enzyme release as opposed to CNTs. Taken together, these results suggest an immune protective mechanism by the PL-HA coating that could provide future therapeutic benefit.