Cellular Delivery of Nanoparticles Revealed with Combined Optical and Isotopic Nanoscopy

Maria T. Proetto, Christopher R. Anderton, Dehong Hu, Craig J. Szymanski, Zihua Zhu, Joseph P. Patterson, Jacquelin K. Kammeyer, Lizanne G. Nilewski, Anthony M. Rush, Nia C. Bell, James E. Evans, Galya Orr, Stephen B. Howell, Nathan C. Gianneschi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Direct polymerization of an oxaliplatin analogue was used to reproducibly generate amphiphiles in one pot, which consistently and spontaneously self-assemble into well-defined nanoparticles (NPs). Despite inefficient drug leakage in cell-free assays, the NPs were observed to be as cytotoxic as free oxaliplatin in cell culture experiments. We investigated this phenomenon by super-resolution fluorescence structured illumination microscopy (SIM) and nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS). In combination, these techniques revealed NPs are taken up via endocytic pathways before intracellular release of their cytotoxic cargo. As with other drug-carrying nanomaterials, these systems have potential as cellular delivery vehicles. However, high-resolution methods to track nanocarriers and their cargo at the micro- and nanoscale have been underutilized in general, limiting our understanding of their interactions with cells and tissues. We contend this type of combined optical and isotopic imaging strategy represents a powerful and potentially generalizable methodology for cellular tracking of nanocarriers and their cargo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4046-4054
Number of pages9
JournalACS nano
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 26 2016


  • NanoSIMS
  • SIM
  • cytotoxicity
  • drug delivery
  • drug-loaded nanoparticles
  • fluorescence
  • platinum(II) complexes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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