Manipulating immune activation of macrophages by tuning the oligonucleotide composition of gold nanoparticles

Roger M. Pallares, Priscilla Choo, Lisa E. Cole, Chad A. Mirkin, Andrew Lee, Teri W. Odom*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This paper describes how the ligand shell containing immunostimulatory oligonucleotides surrounding gold nanoparticles affects the in vitro activation of macrophages. Nanoconstructs with similar ligand densities but different oligonucleotide compositions (from 0% to 100% immune-active cytosine-phosphate-guanine, CpG) were compared. Maximum immunostimulation was achieved with CpG content as low as 5% (with total oligonucleotide surface coverage remaining constant), correlating to high levels of antitumor cytokine release and low levels of cancer-promoting ones. Independent of CpG content, gold nanoparticles with low oligonucleotide densities exhibit poor cellular uptake, leading to insignificant immunostimulation and cytokine release. By identifying effects of ligand shell composition on macrophage activation, we can inform the design rules of therapeutic nanoconstructs to achieve specific immune responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2032-2037
Number of pages6
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 17 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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