Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 54, Issue 8, pp 6199–6211 | Cite as

Acid and light stimuli-responsive mesoporous silica nanoparticles for controlled release

  • Mingdong Wang
  • Ting Wang
  • Dong Wang
  • Wei Jiang
  • Jiajun FuEmail author
Chemical routes to materials


We constructed a novel stimuli-responsive system, MSNPs 1, based on mechanized silica nanoparticles, in which mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) acted as nanocontainers to load cargo, and supramolecular switches consisting of hydrazone bond, azobenzene and α-cyclodextrin (α-CD) realized the controlled release of cargo molecules from MSNPs 1. In neutral solution and without UV light irradiation, the azobenzene component on functional stalks was in trans form, and combined with α-CD to block the mesoporous channels and prevent the cargo from escaping. Upon adjusting the solution pH to acid range, the acid-sensitive hydrazone bonds rapidly hydrolyzed, resulting in the disconnection between pseudorotaxanes and MSNs. The encapsulated cargo molecules were released simultaneously from MSNPs 1 due to the removal of supramolecular switches. On the other hand, when the neutral solution was irradiated with UV light at 365 nm, trans-azobenzene converted to cis, disassociating with α-CD to activate the switches and release the cargo. The unique acid- and light-triggered controlled release properties of MSNPs 1 have potential application in various fields. In this manuscript, doxorubicin (DOX) was selected to be stored in MSNPs 1, due to the anticancer property. MCF-7 human breast cancer cells could phagocytose DOX-loaded MSNPs 1 easily, and the released DOX showed the killing effect.



The authors thank the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central University, Grant Nos. 30915012207 and 30918012201; the National Nature Science Foundation of China, Grant Nos. U1737105 and 51672133; the National Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province, Grant No. BK20161496; the QingLan Project, Jiangsu Province, China; a project funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10853_2019_3325_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.2 mb)
Supporting Information associated with this article, including, synthesis procedure details of HMAB and Compound B, UV detection of Compound B and α-CD, SEM, XRD, N2 adsorption–desorption isotherm, and pore size distribution of MSNs, FTIR spectra of MSNs, MSNs 1 and MSNs 2, UV/visible absorption spectra of BTA released from MSNPs 1, and Control experiment (DOCX 2259 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chemical EngineeringNanjing University of Science and TechnologyNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.National Special Superfine Powder Engineering Research Centre, Nanjing University of Science and TechnologyNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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