, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 889–902 | Cite as

Multi-color light-emitting amphiphilic cellulose/conjugated polymers nanomicelles for tumor cell imaging

Original Paper


Novel cellulose nanomicelles self-assembled from amphiphilic cellulose-graft-poly(p-dioxanone) (MCC-graft-PPDO) copolymer were used to encapsulate and disperse hydrophobic fluorescent conjugated polymers (FCPs) in water for tumor cell imaging. Three different conjugated polymers were employed to demonstrate the versatility of the cellulose nanomicelles, resulting in highly fluorescent and stable polymeric nanoparticles with different emission wavelengths across the visible spectrum. Owing to the size effect of cellulose nanomicelles, the incorporated conjugated polymers present red-shifted emission to low-energy sites, and the fluorescence self-quenching of conjugated polymers at high concentration can be greatly inhibited. The in vitro studies using the liver cancer Hep3B cells and the breast cancer MAD-MB-231 cells indicate these amphiphilic cellulose/FCPs nanomicelles have negligible cytotoxicity even at high concentration of up to 100 μg/mL. Moreover, the light-emitting micelles are successfully uptaken by the cancer cells and located at the cytoplasm of the cells, suggesting their great potential for tumor cell imaging and early detection of tumor cells.


Amphiphilic cellulose derivative Nanomicelles Fluorescent conjugated polymers Tumor cell imaging 



This work was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (51673072), the Independent Study Projects of the State Key Laboratory of Pulp and Paper Engineering (2016TS01, 2015C08, 2015ZD03), the Science and Technology Program of Guangzhou, China (201504010033), the New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET-13-0215), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, SCUT (201522036) and the Opening Project of the Key Laboratory of Polymer Processing Engineering, Ministry of Education, China (KFKT-201401) and Macao Science and Technology Development Fund (062/2013/A2).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1686 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haoquan Zhong
    • 1
  • Jinming Zhang
    • 2
  • Yanzhu Guo
    • 1
    • 3
  • Lu Wang
    • 2
  • Wenjiao Ge
    • 1
  • Meiwan Chen
    • 2
  • Runcang Sun
    • 1
  • Xiaohui Wang
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Pulp and Paper EngineeringSouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical SciencesUniversity of MacauMacauChina
  3. 3.Liaoning Key Laboratory of Pulp and Paper EngineeringDalian Polytechnic UniversityDalianChina
  4. 4.The Key Laboratory of Polymer Processing Engineering, Ministry of EducationSouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouChina

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