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Magn Reson Med. 2014 Mar;71(3):1054-63. doi: 10.1002/mrm.24768.

In vivo imaging of islet transplantation using PLGA nanoparticles containing iron oxide and indocyanine green.

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Laboratory Animal Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB), Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, Korea.



We determined whether poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanoparticles would be a useful reagent for the successful monitoring of isolated islets by magnetic resonance imaging and optical imaging systems, without clinically relevant toxicity in vitro or in vivo.


We used iron oxide for MR imaging and a cyanide dye approved by the Food and Drug Administration (indocyanine green) for optical imaging and estimated the in vivo detection of transplanted pancreatic islets.


The poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanoparticles were associated with the islets in vitro and were successfully detected by 4.7 T (MR) and optical imaging, without other toxic effects. When labeled islets were transplanted under the mouse kidney capsule, in vivo T2/ T2*-weighted scans with 4.7 T MR detected as few as 300 labeled islets by 4 weeks. Optical in vivo imaging revealed indocyanine green fluorescence by 2 and 4 days after transplantation of islets containing 250 and 500 µg/mL poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanoparticles, respectively. These results were further supported by the immunohistochemical results for insulin and iron in the recipient mouse kidney and pancreas.


Taken together, these data indicate that poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanoparticles may be used to label transplanted islets and may be imaged with in vivo MR and optical imaging systems.

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