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Biodegradability of disulfide-organosilica nanoparticles evaluated by soft X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy; Cancer therapy implications

Mekaru, Harutaka*; Yoshigoe, Akitaka ; Nakamura, Michihiro*; Doura, Tomohiro*; Tamanoi, Fuyuhiko*

Organosilica nanoparticles are attractive for use as drug delivery systems for cancer therapy. Ideally, the nanoparticles need to degrade in the body after drug delivery to minimize their risk. However, the biodegradation of organosilica nanoparticles has not been thoroughly investigated. In this study, we used X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and field-emission scanning electron microscopy to investigate the degradation of organosilica nanoparticles by glutathione, a peptide found in cells. Our results indirectly indicate that glutathione is able to reduce the disulfide bonds present in the network of one type of the nanoparticles, promoting dissociation of these nanoparticles. The dissociated nanoparticles form large maple leaf-shaped structures under certain conditions. We consider the formation mechanism of these symmetrical structures.

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