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Biomaterials. 2012 Nov;33(31):7803-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.07.006. Epub 2012 Jul 21.

Ultrabright and ultrastable near-infrared dye nanoparticles for in vitro and in vivo bioimaging.

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  • 1Functional Nano & Soft Materials Laboratory (FUNSOM) and Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Carbon-Based Functional Materials & Devices, Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu, PR China.


We report a new strategy of using carrier-free pure near-infrared (NIR) dye nanoparticles (NPs) to achieve highly luminescent NIR fluorescent probes for in vitro and in vivo imaging. Bis(4-(N-(2-naphthyl)phenylamino) phenyl)-fumaronitrile (NPAPF) NPs are shown to exhibit favorable biocompatibility, wide-range pH stability (pH 4-10) and much more superior photostability than conventional dyes. Importantly, the combined merits of high dye loading content and aggregation-induced emission enhancement properties, endow the NIR probes with high brightness and a high quantum yield up to 14.9%. The NPAPF NPs can be readily conjugated with folic acid for targeted in vitro cell imaging. Applications of the NPs probes in high efficiency in vivo and ex vivo imaging were successfully demonstrated. Intense fluorescent signals of NPAPF NPs can be distinctly, selectively and spatially resolved in tumor sites with ultrahigh sensitivity, even with 5 ms exposure time, due to the preferentially accumulation of NPs in tumor sites through passive enhanced permeability and retention effect. The totality of results clearly demonstrate the exciting potential of the functionalized NPAPF NPs as a NIR fluorescent probe for in vitro and in vivo imaging and diagnostics.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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