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Methylene Blue-Loaded Upconverting Hydrogel Nanocomposite: Potential Material for Near-Infrared Light-Triggered Photodynamic Therapy Application

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journal contribution
posted on 13.02.2019, 12:03 by Brahmaiah Meesaragandla, Debashrita Sarkar, Venkataramanan Mahalingam
The property of upconverting nanoparticles to convert the low-energy near-infrared (NIR) light into high-energy visible light has made them a potential candidate for various biomedical applications including photodynamic therapy (PDT). In this work, we show how a surface functionalization approach on the nanoparticle can be used to develop a nanocomposite hydrogel which can be of potential use for the PDT application. The upconverting hydrogel nanocomposite was synthesized by reacting 10-undecenoic acid-capped Yb3+/Er3+-doped NaYF4 nanoparticles with the thermosensitive N-isopropylacrylamide monomer. The formation of hydrogel was completed within 15 min and hydrogel nanocomposites showed strong enhancement in the visible light emission compared to the emission obtained from 10-undecenoic acid-capped Yb3+/Er3+-doped NaYF4 nanoparticles via the upconversion process (under 980 nm laser excitation). The upconverting hydrogel nanocomposites displayed high swelling behavior in water because of their porous nature. The porous structure ensured a higher loading of methylene blue dye (∼78% in 1 h) into the upconverting hydrogel, which was achieved via the swelling diffusion phenomenon. Upon excitation with the NIR light, the visible light emitted from the hydrogel activated the photosensitizer methylene blue which generated reactive oxygen species. Our results were able to show that the methylene blue-loaded composite hydrogel can be a potential platform for the future of NIR-triggered PDT in skin cancer treatment.

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