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J Am Chem Soc. 2008 Mar 5;130(9):2832-41. doi: 10.1021/ja077388j. Epub 2008 Feb 12.

Self-delivering nanoemulsions for dual fluorine-19 MRI and fluorescence detection.

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Department of Biological Sciences and Pittsburgh NMR Center for Biomedical Research, Carnegie Mellon University, 4400 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


We report the design, synthesis, and biological testing of highly stable, nontoxic perfluoropolyether (PFPE) nanoemulsions for dual 19F MRI-fluorescence detection. A linear PFPE polymer was covalently conjugated to common fluorescent dyes (FITC, Alexa647 and BODIPy-TR), mixed with pluronic F68 and linear polyethyleneimine (PEI), and emulsified by microfluidization. Prepared nanoemulsions (<200 nm) were readily taken up by both phagocytic and non-phagocytic cells in vitro after a short (approximately 3 h) co-incubation. Following cell administration in vivo, 19F MRI selectively visualizes cell migration. Exemplary in vivo MRI images are presented of T cells labeled with a dual-mode nanoemulsion in a BALB/c mouse. Fluorescence detection enables fluorescent microscopy and FACS analysis of labeled cells, as demonstrated in several immune cell types including Jurkat cells, primary T cells and dendritic cells. The intracellular fluorescence signal is directly proportional to the 19F NMR signal and can be used to calibrate cell loading in vitro.

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