Composites combining superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) and polymers are largely present in modern (bio)materials. However, although SPIONs embedded in polymer matrices are classically reported, the mechanical and degradation properties of the polymer scaffold are impacted by the SPIONs. Therefore, the controlled anchoring of SPIONs onto polymer surfaces is still a major challenge. Herein, we propose an efficient strategy for the direct and uniform anchoring of SPIONs on the surface of functionalized-polylactide (PLA) nanofibers via a simple free ligand exchange procedure to design PLA@SPIONs core@shell nanocomposites. The resulting PLA@SPIONs hybrid biomaterials are characterized by electron microscopy (scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy analysis to probe the morphology and detect elements present at the organic-inorganic interface, respectively. A monolayer of SPIONs with a complete and homogeneous coverage is observed on the surface of PLA nanofibers. Magnetization experiments show that magnetic properties of the nanoparticles are well preserved after their grafting on the PLA fibers and that the size of the nanoparticles does not change. The absence of cytotoxicity, combined with a high sensitivity of detection in magnetic resonance imaging both in vitro and in vivo, makes these hybrid nanocomposites attractive for the development of magnetic biomaterials for biomedical applications.
ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. 11(9): 9519-9529 (2019).