Controlled drug delivery and gene expression is required for a large variety of applications including cancer therapy, wound healing, cell migration, cell modification, cell-analysis, reproductive and regenerative medicine. Controlled delivery of precise amounts of drugs to a single cell is especially interesting for cell and tissue engineering as well as therapeutics and has until now required the application of micro-pipettes, precisely placed dispersed drug delivery vehicles, or injections close to or into the cell. Here we present surface bound micro-chamber arrays able to store small hydrophilic molecules for prolonged times in subaqueous conditions supporting spatiotemporal near infrared laser mediated release. The micro-chambers (MCs) are composed of biocompatible and biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA). Biocompatible gold nanoparticles are employed as light harvesting agents to facilitate photothermal MC opening. The degree of photothermal heating is determined by numerical simulations utilizing optical properties of the MC, and confirmed by Brownian motion measurements of laser-irradiated micro-particles exhibiting similar optical properties like the MCs. The amount of bioactive small molecular cargo (doxycycline) from local release is determined by fluorescence spectroscopy and gene expression in isolated C2C12 cells via enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) biosynthesis.Graphical abstract
Laser mediated release of small hydrophilic molecule doxycycline from biodegradable and biocompatible surface bound microchambers arrays is demonstrated by controlled EGFP expression of a targeted cell in a cell colony.