In the natural fluidic environment of a biological system, nanoparticles swiftly adsorb plasma proteins on their surface forming a “protein corona”, which profoundly and often adversely affects their residence in the systemic circulation in vivo and their interaction with cells in vitro. It has been recognized that preformation of a protein corona under controlled conditions ameliorates the protein corona effects, including colloidal stability in serum solutions. We report on the investigation of the stabilizing effects of a denatured bovine serum albumin (dBSA) protein corona formed on the surface of upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs). UCNPs were chosen as a nanoparticle model due to their unique photoluminescent properties suitable for background-free biological imaging and sensing. UCNP surface was modified with nitrosonium tetrafluoroborate (NOBF4 ) to render it hydrophilic. UCNP-NOBF4 nanoparticles were incubated in dBSA solution to form a dBSA corona followed up by lyophilization. As produced dBSA-UCNP-NOBF4 demonstrated high photoluminescence brightness, sustained colloidal stability after long-term storage and the reduced level of serum protein surface adsorption. These results show promise of dBSA-based nanoparticle pretreatment to improve the amiability to biological environments towards theranostic applications.
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- Colloidal stability
- Protein corona
- Upconversion nanoparticles