Chemical Synthesis and Characterization of Functionalized Magnetite Nanoparticles for Targeting Breast Cancer Cells and Tissues

Gati, Emmanuel Elias (2021-04-12)


This study presents the results of the characterization of functionalized magnetite nanoparticles for targeting breast cancer cells. In this study, spherical magnetite nanoparticles with core diameters between 5nm and 30 nm were chemically synthesized by the co-precipitation method from ferric and ferrous salts under inert conditions and ambient temperature. The sizes and shapes of the magnetite nanoparticles (MNPs) were determined by the Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). The sizes of the MNPs were within the range recommended for biomedical applications such as contrast enhancement in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The synthesized MNPs were conjugated to LHRH and EphA2, which are known targets of receptors that are overexpressed on the surfaces of breast tumors. They were then analyzed using Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), which indicated two large peaks for iron and oxygen as the main two-element composition in the synthesized nanoparticles. A Vibrating Sample Magnetometer (VSM) was then used to characterize the magnetic properties of synthesized nanoparticles. This revealed a very small saturation magnetization of 2.67 emu/g, compared to that of bulk iron oxide 92emu/g. FTIR spectra of the LHRH- and EphA2-conjugated nanoparticles revealed strong broader peaks of 3356 cm-1 for the amine (–NH2) and characteristic peaks for both LHRH and EphA2. The amide (-C=O) peak at 1646 cm-1 revealed that EphA2 was properly conjugated to magnetite nanoparticles (MNPs). Analysis of the synthesized nanoparticles using UV-vis spectroscopy showed the broad peak for pure MNPs, and the peaks of both LHRH and EphA2 conjugated nanoparticles. These were found to be between 262nm and 400nm, which is within the visible range of wavelengths for nanoparticles that are being developed for cancer detection and treatment.