Exploring the Cytoxicity of Silica Coated Water-Soluble CdSe Nanocrystals

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Sandra Rosenthal, Vanderbilt University
Dr. Graham Peaslee, Hope College

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For this study, red-emission CdSe quantum dots were prepared and their cytotoxicity was tested. In order for hydrophobic CdSe quantum dots to be used in biological studies, they need to be coated with a water-soluble, nontoxic shell such as ligands, polymers, or silica. Using the standard pyrolysis of organometallic reagents, CdSe quantum dots were prepared and coated with a silica shell by a reverse microemulsion method. UV-Visible absorption spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy were used to determine the characteristics of the quantum dots prepared. The CdSe quantum dots were approximately 4.4nm in diameter. An MTT (3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) colorimetric assay was performed in HELA cells to determine the cytotoxicity of the CdSe quantum dots. Toxicity of the CdSe quantum dots were compared to 605 ITK amino quantum dots (Invitrogen). The assay exhibited, the CdSe quantum dots were more cytotoxic than the 605 ITK amino quantum dots. Improvements in the silica coated quantum dots needed to be accomplished before their cytotoxicity can be fully tested.

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