Upconverting nanorockers for intracellular viscosity measurements during chemotherapy

Paloma Rodríguez-Sevilla, Francisco Sanz-Rodríguez, Raúl P. Peláez, Rafael Delgado-Buscalioni, Liangliang Liang, Xiaogang Liu, Daniel Jaque

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Chemicals capable of producing structural and chemical changes on cells are used to treat diseases (e.g., cancer). Further development and optimization of chemotherapies require thorough knowledge of the effect of the chemical on the cellular structure and dynamics. This involves studying, in a noninvasive way, the properties of individual cells after drug administration. Intracellular viscosity is affected by chemical treatments and it can be reliably used to monitor chemotherapies at the cellular level. Here, cancer cell monitoring during chemotherapeutic treatments is demonstrated using intracellular allocated upconverting nanorockers. A simple analysis of the polarized visible emission of a single particle provides a real-time readout of its rocking dynamics that are directly correlated to the cytoplasmic viscosity. Numerical simulations and immunodetection are used to correlate the measured intracellular viscosity alterations to the changes produced in the cytoskeleton of cancer cells by anticancer drugs (colchicine and Taxol). This study evidences the possibility of monitoring cellular properties under an external chemical stimulus for the study and development of new treatments. Moreover, it provides the biomedical community with new tools to study intracellular dynamics and cell functioning.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1900082
JournalAdvanced Biosystems
Issue number10
Early online date16 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2019


  • Cancer
  • In vitro chemotherapy
  • Rheometry
  • Upconverting nanoparticles


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