Gold nanorods prepared in hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) solution are expected to provide novel materials for photothermal therapy and photo-controlled drug delivery systems. Since gold nanorods stabilized with CTAB show strong cytotoxicity, we developed a technique to modify these with polyethyleneglycol (PEG) for medical applications. PEG-modification was achieved by adding mPEG-SH in the CTAB solution, then, excess CTAB was removed by dialysis. PEG-modified gold nanoparticles showed a nearly neutral surface, and had little cytotoxicity in vitro. Following intravenous injection into mice, 54% of injected PEG-modified gold nanoparticles were found in blood at 0.5 h after intravenous injection, whereas most of gold was detected in the liver in the case of original gold nanorods stabilized with CTAB.
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