Macrophages have a pivotal role in chronic inflammatory diseases (CIDs), so imaging and controlling activated macrophage is critical for detecting and reducing chronic inflammation. In this study, photodynamic selenium nanoparticles (SeNPs) with photosensitive and macrophage-targeting bilayers were developed. The first layer of the photosensitive macromolecule was composed of a conjugate of a photosensitizer (rose bengal, RB) and a thiolated chitosan (chitosan-glutathione), resulting in a plasmonic coupling-induced red shift and broadening of RB absorption bands with increased absorption intensity. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and diphenylanthracene (DPA) quenching studies revealed that the SeNPs that were coated with the photosensitive layer were more effective than RB alone in producing singlet oxygen (1O2) under photoirradiation. The second layer of the activated macrophage-targetable macromolecule was synthesized by conjugation of hyaluronic acid with folic acid using an ethylenediamine linker. Proinflammatory-activated macrophages rapidly internalized the SeNPs that were covered with the targeting ligand, exhibiting a much stronger fluorescence signal of the SeNPs than did the nonactivated macrophages. Since proinflammatory-activated macrophage was known to generate a substantial amount of H2O2 while the inflamed site generally caused inflammation-associated tissue hypoxia, the SeNPs were further modified with O2 self-sufficient function for photodynamic therapy. Catalase was immobilized on the SeNPs by the formation of disulfide bonds. Intracellular reduction of disulfide bonds induced the subsequent release of catalase, which catalyzed the decomposition of H2O2. The H2O2-depleting and O2-generating photodynamic SeNPs efficiently killed activated macrophages and quenched the intracellular H2O2 and NO that are associated with inflammation. The SeNPs may have potential as a theranostic nanomaterial to image and control the activation of macrophages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5158-5172
Number of pages15
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 2017


  • fluorescence imaging
  • macrophage
  • photodynamics
  • Se nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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