Hyperbranched polyglycerols as robust up-conversion nanoparticle coating layer for feasible cell imaging

Mingcong Hao, Tongtong Wu, Qunzhi Chen, Xueyan Lian, Haigang Wu*, Bingyang Shi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Owing to the wide spectrum of excitation wavelengths of up-conversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) by precisely regulating the percentage of doping elements, UCNPs have been emerging as bioimaging agents. The key drawback of UCNPs is their poor dispersibility in aqueous solution and it is hard to introduce the chemical versatility of function groups. In our study, we present a robust and feasible UCNP modification approach by introducing hyperbranched polyglycerols (hbPGs) as a coating layer. When grafted by hbPGs, the solubility and biocompatibility of UCNPs are significantly improved. Moreover, we also systematically investigated and optimized the chemical modification approach of amino acids or green fluorescence protein (GFP), respectively, grafting onto hbPGs and hbPGs-g-UCNP by oxidizing the vicinal diol to be an aldehyde group, which reacts more feasibly with amino-containing functional molecules. Then, we investigated the drug-encapsulating properties of hbPGs-Arg with DOX and cell imaging of GFP-grafted hbPGs-g-UCNP, respectively. The excellent cell imaging in tumor cells indicated that hbPG-modification of UCNPs displayed potential for applications in drug delivery and disease diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2592
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Bioimaging
  • Hyperbranched polyglycerols
  • Up-conversion nanoparticle

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