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Analyst. 2013 Jun 7;138(11):3172-80. doi: 10.1039/c3an00237c.

Dendrimer-stabilized bismuth sulfide nanoparticles: synthesis, characterization, and potential computed tomography imaging applications.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory for Modification of Chemical Fibers and Polymer Materials, College of Materials Science and Engineering, Donghua University, Shanghai 201620, People's Republic of China.


We report here a general approach to synthesizing dendrimer-stabilized bismuth sulfide nanoparticles (Bi2S3 DSNPs) for potential computed tomography (CT) imaging applications. In this study, ethylenediamine core glycidol hydroxyl-terminated generation 4 poly(amidoamine) dendrimers (G4.NGlyOH) were used as stabilizers to first complex the Bi(III) ions, followed by reaction with hydrogen sulfide to generate Bi2S3 DSNPs. By varying the molar ratio of Bi atom to dendrimer, stable Bi2S3 DSNPs with an average size range of 5.2-5.7 nm were formed. The formed Bi2S3 DSNPs were characterized via different techniques. X-ray absorption coefficient measurements show that the attenuation of Bi2S3 DSNPs is much higher than that of iodine-based CT contrast agent at the same molar concentration of the active element (Bi versus iodine). 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) cell viability assay and hemolysis assay reveal that the formed Bi2S3 DSNPs are noncytotoxic and have a negligible hemolysis effect in the studied concentration range. Furthermore, we show that cells incubated with the Bi2S3 DSNPs are able to be imaged using CT, a prominent enhancement at the point of rabbit injected subcutaneously with the Bi2S3 DSNPs is able to be visualized via CT scanning, and the mouse's pulmonary vein can be visualized via CT after intravenous injection of the Bi2S3 DSNPs. With the good biocompatibility, enhanced X-ray attenuation property, and tunable dendrimer chemistry, the designed Bi2S3 DSNPs should be able to be further functionalized, allowing them to be used as a highly efficient contrast agent for CT imaging of different biological systems.

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