Local detection of pH-induced disaggregation of biocompatible micelles by fluorescence switch ON

Giulia Battistelli, Maria Proetto, Alexandra Mavridi-Printezi, Matteo Calvaresi, Alberto Danielli, Paolo Emidio Costantini, Claudia Battistella*, Nathan C. Gianneschi, Marco Montalti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Fluorogenic nanoparticles (NPs) able to sense different physiological environments and respond with disaggregation and fluorescence switching OFF/ON are powerful tools in nanomedicine as they can combine diagnostics with therapeutic action. pH-responsive NPs are particularly interesting as they can differentiate cancer tissues from healthy ones, they can drive selective intracellular drug release and they can act as pH biosensors. Controlled polymerization techniques are the basis of such materials as they provide solid routes towards the synthesis of pH-responsive block copolymers that are able to assemble/disassemble following protonation/deprotonation. Ring opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP), in particular, has been recently exploited for the development of experimental nanomedicines owing to the efficient direct polymerization of both natural and synthetic functionalities. Here, we capitalize on these features and provide synthetic routes for the design of pH-responsive fluorogenic micelles via the assembly of ROMP block-copolymers. While detailed photophysical characterization validates the pH response, a proof of concept experiment in a model cancer cell line confirmed the activity of the biocompatible micelles in relevant biological environments, therefore pointing out the potential of this approach in the development of novel nano-theranostic agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4884-4892
Number of pages9
JournalChemical Science
Issue number17
StatePublished - Mar 10 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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