Nanoparticle-loaded macrophage-mediated photothermal therapy: potential for glioma treatment

Steen J. Madsen, Catherine Christie, Seok Jin Hong, Anthony Trinidad, Qian Peng, Francisco A Uzal, Henry Hirschberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Gold-based nanoparticles have been used in a number of therapeutic and diagnostic applications. The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of gold–silica nanoshells (AuNS) in photothermal therapy (PTT) of rat gliomas. Rat alveolar macrophages (Ma) were used as nanoparticle delivery vectors. Uptake of AuNS (bare and PEGylated) was investigated in Ma. AuNS were incubated with Ma for 24 h. Phase contrast microscopy was used to visualize the distribution of loaded Ma in three-dimensional glioma spheroids. PTT efficacy was evaluated for both empty (Ma) and AuNS-loaded Ma (MaNS) in both monolayers and spheroids consisting of C6 rat glioma cells and Ma. Monolayers/spheroids were irradiated for 5 min with light from an 810-nm diode laser at irradiances ranging from 7 to 28 W cm−2. Monolayer survival was evaluated using a 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium (MTS) assay while PTT efficacy in spheroids was determined from growth kinetics and live/dead fluorescence microscopy. PTT efficacy was investigated in vivo using a Sprague–Dawley rat glioma model. Five rats received direct intracranial injection of a mixture of 104 C6 glioma cells and, 2 days later, an equal number of MaNS. Three rats received laser treatment (810 nm; 10 min; 1 W) while the remaining two served as controls (no laser treatment). The uptake ratio of bare to PEGylated AuNS by Ma was 4:1. A significant photothermal effect was observed in vitro, albeit at relatively high radiant exposures (2.1–4.2 kJ cm−2). PTT proved effective in vivo in preventing or delaying tumor development in the PTT-treated animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1357-1365
Number of pages9
JournalLasers in Medical Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Glioma
  • Gold–silica nanoshells
  • Photothermal therapy
  • Rat macrophages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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