Dopamine-conjugated carbon dots inhibit human calcitonin fibrillation

Jhe An Wu, Yu Chieh Chen, Ling Hsien Tu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The development of biocompatible nanomaterials has become a new trend in the treatment and prevention of human amyloidosis. Human calcitonin (hCT), a hormone peptide secreted from parafollicular cells, plays a major role in calcium–phosphorus metabolism. Moreover, it can be used in the treatment of osteoporosis and Paget’s disease. Unfortunately, it tends to form amyloid fibrils irreversibly in an aqueous solution, resulting in a reduction of its bioavailability and therapeutic activity. Salmon calcitonin is the replacement of hCT as a widely therapeutic agent due to its lower propensity in aggregation and better bioactivity. Herein, we used citric acid to synthesize carbon dots (CDs) and modified their surface properties by a variety of chemical conjugations to provide different functionalized CDs. It was found that dopamine-conjugated CDs can effectively inhibit hCT aggregation especially in the fibril growth phase and dissociate preformed hCT amy-loids. Although the decomposition mechanism of dopamine-conjugated CDs is not clear, it seems to be specific to hCT amyloids. In addition, we also tested dopamine-conjugated mesoporous silica nanoparticles in preventing hCT fibrillization. They also can work as inhibitors but are much less effective than CDs. Our studies emphasized the importance of the size and surface functionalization of core materials in the development of nanomaterials as emerging treatments for amyloidosis. On the other hand, proper functionalized CDs would be useful in hCT formulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2242
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept


  • Amyloidosis
  • Carbon dots
  • Dopamine
  • Human calcitonin
  • Protein aggregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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