Nanotheranostics 2018; 2(3):233-242. doi:10.7150/ntno.25565 This issue

Research Paper

Multifunctional Magnetic Mesoporous Silica Nanoagents for in vivo Enzyme-Responsive Drug Delivery and MR Imaging

Erdong Li1, Yanmei Yang2,3✉, Guangyu Hao4, Xuan Yi2, Shaohua Zhang2, Yue Pan1,5✉, Bengang Xing6, Mingyuan Gao2

1. State and Local Joint Engineering Laboratory for Novel Functional Polymeric Materials, College of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Soochow University, Suzhou, 215123, China.
2. State Key Laboratory of Radiation Medicine and Protection, School for Radiological and Interdisciplinary Sciences (RAD-X) and Collaborative Innovation Center of Radiological Medicine of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions, Soochow University, Suzhou, 215123, China.
3. College of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Collaborative Innovation Center of Functionalized Probes for Chemical Imaging in Universities of Shandong, Key Laboratory of Molecular and Nano Probes, Ministry of Education, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250014, China.
4. Imaging Center, The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, China.
5. Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Malignant Tumor Epigenetics and Gene Regulation, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, 510120, China.
6. Division of Chemistry & Biological Chemistry, School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 637371, Republic of Singapore.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
Li E, Yang Y, Hao G, Yi X, Zhang S, Pan Y, Xing B, Gao M. Multifunctional Magnetic Mesoporous Silica Nanoagents for in vivo Enzyme-Responsive Drug Delivery and MR Imaging. Nanotheranostics 2018; 2(3):233-242. doi:10.7150/ntno.25565. Available from

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Graphic abstract

In this study, we report novel multifunctional nanoagents for in vivo enzyme-responsive anticancer drug delivery and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), based on mesoporous silica coated iron oxide nanoparticles (Fe3O4@MSNs). The anticancer drug, DOX, was encapsulated in the porous cavities with a MMP-2 enzyme responsive peptide being covalently linked to the nanoparticles surface. The in vitro experiment results indicated that the enzyme responsive nanoagents own high specificity for controlled drug release in the cell line with high MMP-2 expression. Furthermore, the targeted delivery of the nanoagents to the tumor site purpose has been successfully achieved through magnet-guided nanocarrier accumulation by utilizing the magnetic properties of the Fe3O4 nanocores, which resulted in efficient inhibition of the tumor growth. Additionally, these novel nanoagents can also be used as MRI agent for the real-time diagnosis the tumor treatment process of living animals. Taking the advantages of high specificity, controllable drug release and real-time MRI imaging, we believe these multifunctional nanoagents could also be used as a general platform for the design of stimulus-responsive multifunctional nanomaterials for the aim of accurate diagnosis and efficient treatment of other diseases.

Keywords: iron oxide, enzyme-responsive drug delivery, tumor inhibition