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.
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- Hyperbranched polyglycerols
- Up-conversion nanoparticle