Silver/dendrimer nanocomposites as biomarkers: Fabrication, characterization, in vitro toxicity, and intracellular detection

Wojciech Lesniak, Anna U. Blelinska, Kai Sun, Katarzyna W. Janczak, Xlangyang Shi, James R. Baker, Lajos P. Balogh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

223 Scopus citations


We have synthesized water-soluble, biocompatible, fluorescent, and stable silver/dendrimer nanocomposites that exhibit a potential for in vitro cell labeling. Amino-, hydroxyl-, and carboxyl-terminated ethytenediamine core generation 5 poly(amldoamine) dendrimers were utilized to prepare aqueous sllver(l)-dendrimer complexes (with the molar ratio of 25 Ag + per dendrimer) at the biologic pH of 7.4. Conversion of silver(l)-dendrimer complexes into dendrimer nanocomposites was achieved by irradiating the solutions with UV light to reduce the bound Ag + cations to zerovalent Ag 0 atoms, which were simultaneously trapped in the dendrlmer network, resulting in the formation of {(Ag 0) 25-PAMAM_E5. NH 2}, {(Ag 0) 25-PAMAM_E5.NGly}, and {(Ag 0) 25-PAMAM_E5.NSAH} dendrimer nanocomposites (DNC), respectively. The silver-DNCs were characterized by means of UV-vis, fluorescence spectroscopy, dynamic light-scattering, zeta potential measurements, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy, and selected area electron diffraction. The cytotoxicity of dendrimers and related silver nanocomposites was evaluated using an XTT colorimetric assay of cellular viability. The cellular uptake of nanoparticles was examined by transmission electron and confocal microscopy. Results indicate that {(Ag 0) 25-PAMAM_E5.NH2}, {(Ag 0-) 25-PAMAM_E5.NGly}, and {(Ag 0) 25-PAMAM_E5.NSAH} form primarily single particles with diameters between 3 and 7 nm. The dendrimer nanocomposites are fluorescent, and their surface charge, cellular internalization, toxicity, and cell labeling capabilities are determined by the surface functionalities of dendrlmer templates. The {(Ag 0-PAMAM_E5.NH 2} and {(Ag 0) 25-PAMAM_E5.NSAH} nanocomposites exhibit potential application as cell biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2123-2130
Number of pages8
JournalNano Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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