Short-chain PEG mixed monolayer protected gold clusters increase clearance and red blood cell counts.

Simpson CA, Agrawal AC, Balinski A, Harkness KM, Cliffel DE
ACS Nano. 2011 5 (5): 3577-84

PMID: 21473648 · PMCID: PMC3101277 · DOI:10.1021/nn103148x

Monolayer-protected gold nanoparticles have great potential as novel building blocks for the design of new drugs and therapeutics based on the easy ability to multifunctionalize them for biological targeting and drug activity. In order to create nanoparticles that are biocompatible in vivo, polyethylene glycol functional groups have been added to many previous multifunctionalized particles to eliminate nonspecific binding. Recently, monolayer-protected gold nanoparticles with mercaptoglycine functionalities were shown to elicit deleterious effects on the kidney in vivo that were eliminated by incorporating a long-chain, mercapto-undecyl-tetraethylene glycol at very high loadings into a mixed monolayer. These long-chain PEGs induced an immune response to the particle presumably generating an anti-PEG antibody as seen in other long-chain PEG-ylated nanoparticles in vivo. In the present work, we explore the in vivo effects of high and low percent ratios of a shorter chain, mercapto-tetraethylene glycol within the monolayer using simple place-exchange reactions. The shorter chain PEG MPCs were expected to have better water solubility due to elimination of the alkyl chain, no toxicity, and long-term circulation in vivo. Shorter chain lengths at lower concentrations should not trigger the immune system to create an anti-PEG antibody. We found that a 10% molar exchange of this short-chain PEG within the monolayer met three of the desired goals: high water solubility, no toxicity, and no immune response as measured by white blood cell counts. However, none of the short-chain PEG mixed monolayer compositions enabled the nanoparticles to have a long circulation time within the blood as compared to mercapto-undecyl-ethylene glycol, which had a residence time of 4 weeks. We also compared the effects of a hydroxyl versus a carboxylic acid terminal functional group on the end of the PEG thiol on both clearance and immune response. The results indicate that short-chain-length PEGs, regardless of termini, increase clearance rates compared to the previous long-chain PEG studies, while carboxylated termini increase red blood cell counts at high loadings. Given these findings, short-chain, alcohol-terminated PEG, exchanged at 10%, was identified as a potential nanoparticle for further in vivo applications requiring short circulation lifetimes with desired features of no toxicity, no immune response, and high water solubility.

MeSH Terms (8)

Cells, Cultured Coated Materials, Biocompatible Gold Humans Leukocyte Count Leukocytes Nanostructures Polyethylene Glycols

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