Advanced Functional Materials

Cover image for Vol. 27 Issue 3

17_16/2007Cover Picture: Preparation and Application of Novel Microspheres Possessing Autofluorescent Properties (Adv. Funct. Mater. 16/2007)

On p. 3153, Guang-Hui Ma and co-workers report on the development of autofluorescent chitosan microspheres with tunable color based on different crosslinking reagents and further chemical modification. The fluorescent intensity can also be controlled by the particle size and crosslinking degree. The autofluorescent microspheres may be useful in fluorescence assays as bright, inexpensive, and stable probes for qualitative and quantitative studies of biological interactions and drug delivery.

Fluorescent microspheres are widely used as biological tracers. In this study, uniformly sized chitosan microspheres crosslinked with glutaraldehyde (CG microspheres) and formaldehyde (CF microspheres) are successfully prepared by the Shirasu Porous Glass (SPG) membrane emulsification technique. Selectively reduced CG microspheres (SRCG microspheres) are obtained by NaBH4 reduction. These chitosan microspheres are found to exhibit fluorescent properties without conjugation to any fluorescent agent. The fluorescence color varies with different crosslinkers and can be modulated by further chemical reduction, whereas the fluorescence intensity can be controlled by tuning the particle size and degree of crosslinking. The autofluorescence of the microspheres is applied to study the phagocytosis of HepG2 cells using the microspheres as novel tracers. Quantitative and qualitative evaluations show that these chitosan microspheres serve as bright, inert, durable, and extremely photostable tracers.

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