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© 2019 Carbon nanotubes are appealing imaging and therapeutic systems. Their structure allows not only a useful display of molecules on their outer surface but at the same time the protection of encapsulated cargoes. Despite the interest they have provoked in the scientific community, their applications have not yet been fully realised due to the limited knowledge we possess concerning their physiological behaviour. Previously, we have shown that the encapsulation of radionuclide in the inner space of glycan-functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes (glyco-X@SWCNT) redirected in vivo distribution of radioactivity from the thyroid to the lungs. Here we test the roles played by such glycans attached to carbon nanotubes in controlling sites of accumulation using nanotubes carrying both ‘cold’ and ‘hot’ salt cargoes decorated with two different mammalian carbohydrates, N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (GlcNAc) or galactose (Gal)-capped disaccharide lactose (Gal–Glc). This distinct variation of the terminal glycan displayed between two types of glycan ligands with very different in vivo receptors, coupled with altered sites of administration, suggest that distribution in mammals is likely controlled by physiological mechanisms that may include accumulation in the first capillary bed they encounter and not by glycan-receptor interaction and that the primary role of glycan is in aiding the dispersibility of the CNTs.

Original publication




Journal article


Inorganica Chimica Acta

Publication Date