Surface functionalized gold nanoparticles for drug delivery

Jinping CHENG, Yan Juan GU, Shuk Han CHENG, Wing-Tak WONG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Gold nanoparticles have been widely explored as cancer therapeutics and diagnostic agents in recent years. With their unique subcellular size and good biocompatibility, gold nanoparticles are a promising drug delivery vehicle. In this study, folic acid-coated gold nanoparticles conjugated with fluorophore FITC through amine terminated poly(ethylene glycol) were prepared and confocal microscopy together with bright-field differential interference contrast imaging data showed that folic acid-coated gold nanoparticles accumulated mainly in cytoplasm of primary human fibroblasts, without causing any observable cytotoxicity upon exposure for 48 hours. Through the further development of a drug delivery system that conjugates doxorubicin onto the surface of gold nanoparticles with a poly(ethylene glycol) spacer via an SMCC linker, we demonstrated that multidrug resistance in cancer cells can be significantly overcome by a combination of highly efficient cellular entry and enhanced cytotoxicity of Au-SMCC-DOX nanoconjugates, as revealed both by confocal microscopy imaging and cytotoxicity assay. The prepared Au-SMCC-DOX nanoconjugates demonstrated enhanced drug accumulation and retention in multidrug resistant hepG2-R cancer cells when it was compared with free doxorubicin, with a cytoplasm accumulation profile. The results indicated that gold nanoparticles are a kind of promising drug delivery vehicle with good biocompatibility and suitable for further applications in drug delivery for improved chemotherapy, especially for overcoming multidrug resistance. Copyright © 2013 American Scientific Publishers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1362-1369
JournalJournal of Biomedical Nanotechnology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


Cheng, J., Gu, Y.-J., Cheng, S. H., & Wong, W.-T. (2013). Surface functionalized gold nanoparticles for drug delivery. Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology, 9(8), 1362-1369. doi: 10.1166/jbn.2013.1536


  • Biocompatibility
  • Doxorubicin
  • Drug delivery
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Multidrug resistance


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