Encapsulation of gold nanostructures and oil-in-water nanocarriers in microgels with biomedical potential
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Here we report the incorporation of gold nanostructures (nanospheres or nanorods, functionalized with carboxylate-end PEG) and curcumin oil-in-water (O/W) nanoemulsions (CurNem) into alginate microgels using the dripping technique. While gold nanostructures are promising nanomaterials for photothermal therapy applications, CurNem possess important pharmacological activities as reported here. In this sense, we evaluated the effect of CurNem on cell viability of both cancerous and non-cancerous cell lines (AGS and HEK293T, respectively), demonstrating preferential toxicity in cancer cells and safety for the non-cancerous cells. After incorporating gold nanostructures and CurNem together into the microgels, microstructures with diameters of 220 and 540 µm were obtained. When stimulating microgels with a laser, the plasmon effect promoted a significant rise in the temperature of the medium; the temperature increase was higher for those containing gold nanorods (11–12 ◦ C) than nanospheres (1–2 ◦ C). Interestingly, the incorporation of both nanosystems in the microgels maintains the photothermal properties of the gold nanostructures unmodified and retains with high efficiency the curcumin nanocarriers. We conclude that these results will be of interest to design hydrogel formulations with therapeutic applications. © 2018 by the authors.