A nanodiamond-fluorescein conjugate for cell studies

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4 Scopus citations


The use of nanodiamonds in studies with living systems generally involves the modification of their surfaces with functional groups. Fluorescent molecules can be attached to these groups, so that one can know the exact position of the particles in each moment of the interaction with the cells. Here we modify the surface of detonation nanodiamonds and nitrogen-vacancy center nanodiamonds using carboxylation and hydroxylation procedures. Subsequent reactions with silicates and cysteine, before addition of fluorescein allow to obtain fluorescent nano-conjugates. We used confocal microscopy to observe the position of nanodiamonds interacting with HeLa cells. At 3 h post-incubation the green fluorescence is localized in extracellular rounded like-vesicles assemblies while at 24 h the conjugates can be observed inside the cells. The measurement of the fluorescence emitted by both conjugates allowed to find an enhanced emission of fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) when the nitrogen-vacancy center is present. We propose the existence of a fluorescence enhancement by electron transference process. The procedure described in this work allows the functionalization of nanodiamonds with FITC and other molecules using functional surface groups and small size mediators. Also, as was proved in our work, the nanodiamond-fluorescein conjugates can be used to track nanoparticles position within the cell. Localization studies are particularly important for drug delivery applications of nanodiamonds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number015013
JournalAdvances in Natural Sciences: Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Vietnam Academy of Science & Technology.


  • HeLa cell
  • conjugate
  • fluorescein
  • nanodiamond
  • photoelectrons transfer


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