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Nano Lett. 2010 Sep 8;10(9):3692-9. doi: 10.1021/nl1021909.

In vivo imaging and toxicity assessments of fluorescent nanodiamonds in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Engineering and System Science, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan.


Nanoscale carbon materials hold great promise for biotechnological and biomedical applications. Fluorescent nanodiamond (FND) is a recent new addition to members of the nanocarbon family. Here, we report long-term in vivo imaging of FNDs in Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) and explore the nano-biointeractions between this novel nanomaterial and the model organism. FNDs are introduced into wild-type C. elegans by either feeding them with colloidal FND solution or microinjecting FND suspension into the gonads of the worms. On feeding, bare FNDs stay in the intestinal lumen, while FNDs conjugated with biomolecules (such as dextran and bovine serum albumin) are absorbed into the intestinal cells. On microinjection, FNDs are dispersed in the gonad and delivered to the embryos and eventually into the hatched larvae in the next generation. The toxicity assessments, performed by employing longevity and reproductive potential as physiological indicators and measuring stress responses with use of reporter genes, show that FNDs are stable and nontoxic and do not cause any detectable stress to the worms. The high brightness, excellent photostability, and nontoxic nature of the nanomaterial have enabled continuous imaging of the whole digestive system and tracking of the cellular and developmental processes of the living organism for several days.

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