Modulating pharmacokinetics, tumor uptake and biodistribution by engineered nanoparticles

PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e24374. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024374. Epub 2011 Sep 13.


Background: Inorganic nanoparticles provide promising tools for biomedical applications including detection, diagnosis and therapy. While surface properties such as charge are expected to play an important role in their in vivo behavior, very little is known how the surface chemistry of nanoparticles influences their pharmacokinetics, tumor uptake, and biodistribution.

Method/principal findings: Using a family of structurally homologous nanoparticles we have investigated how pharmacological properties including tumor uptake and biodistribution are influenced by surface charge using neutral (TEGOH), zwitterionic (Tzwit), negative (TCOOH) and positive (TTMA) nanoparticles. Nanoparticles were injected into mice (normal and athymic) either in the tail vein or into the peritoneum.

Conclusion: Neutral and zwitterionic nanoparticles demonstrated longer circulation time via both i.p. and i.v. administration, whereas negatively and positively charged nanoparticles possessed relatively short half-lives. These pharmacological characteristics were reflected on the tumor uptake and biodistribution of the respective nanoparticles, with enhanced tumor uptake by neutral and zwitterionic nanoparticles via passive targeting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Gold / chemistry
  • Ligands
  • Male
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Mice
  • Nanotechnology*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Surface Properties
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Ligands
  • Gold