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J Nucl Med. 2007 Sep;48(9):1511-8. Epub 2007 Aug 17.

microPET-based biodistribution of quantum dots in living mice.

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  • 1Departments of Radiology and Bioengineering, Bio-X Program, Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS), Stanford University, East 150 Clark Center, Palo Alto, CA 94305, USA.


This study evaluates the quantitative biodistribution of commercially available CdSe quantum dots (QD) in mice.


(64)Cu-Labeled 800- or 525-nm emission wavelength QD (21- or 12-nm diameter), with or without 2,000 MW (molecular weight) polyethylene glycol (PEG), were injected intravenously into mice (5.55 MBq/25 pmol QD) and studied using well counting or by serial microPET and region-of-interest analysis.


Both methods show rapid uptake by the liver (27.4-38.9 %ID/g) (%ID/g is percentage injected dose per gram tissue) and spleen (8.0-12.4 %ID/g). Size has no influence on biodistribution within the range tested here. Pegylated QD have slightly slower uptake into liver and spleen (6 vs. 2 min) and show additional low-level bone uptake (6.5-6.9 %ID/g). No evidence of clearance from these organs was observed.


Rapid reticuloendothelial system clearance of QD will require modification of QD for optimal utility in imaging living subjects. Formal quantitative biodistribution/imaging studies will be helpful in studying many types of nanoparticles, including quantum dots.

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