Special method to prepare quantum dot probes with reduced cytotoxicity and increased optical property.

Research paper by Hai-Li HL Zhang, Yong-Qiang YQ Li, Jian-Hao JH Wang, Xiang-Ning XN Li, Song S Lin, Yuan-Di YD Zhao, Qing-Ming QM Luo

Indexed on: 10 Mar '10Published on: 10 Mar '10Published in: Journal of biomedical optics


Quantum dots (QDs) are widely used in the life sciences because of their novel physicochemical properties. However, the cytotoxity of these nonoparticles have attracted great attention recently because this has not been well resolved. Four probes were synthesized by chemical coupling and protein denaturation with CdSeZnS, CdTe QDs, and transferrin. Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and capillary electrophoresis were used to verify the conjugation of these luminescent probes. The cytotoxicity of these four luminescent probes and the original QDs were evaluated in HeLa cells. The results showed that over 92% of HeLa cells were still alive after being exposed to 3.2-microM CdSeZnS QDs capped with denatured transferrin for 72 h. Furthermore, while the probe preparation was very simple, the photoluminescence quantum yield of this probe was 7% higher than the original CdSeZnS QDs. This provides a new way for exploiting QD probes with low cytotoxicity, which will expand applications of nanocomposite assembly in biolabeling and imaging.