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J Biomed Opt. 2014 Jan;19(1):16022. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.19.1.016022.

Noninvasive measurement of pharmacokinetics by near-infrared fluorescence imaging in the eye of mice.

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Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED), Discovery Oncology, Roche Diagnostics GmbH, Nonnenwald 2, D-82377 Penzberg, Germany.
Large Molecule Research (LMR), Roche Diagnostics GmbH, Nonnenwald 2, D-82377 Penzberg, Germany.



For generating preclinical pharmacokinetics (PKs) of compounds, blood is drawn at different time points and levels are quantified by different analytical methods. In order to receive statistically meaningful data, 3 to 5 animals are used for each time point to get serum peak-level and half-life of the compound. Both characteristics are determined by data interpolation, which may influence the accuracy of these values. We provide a method that allows continuous monitoring of blood levels noninvasively by measuring the fluorescence intensity of labeled compounds in the eye and other body regions of anesthetized mice.


The method evaluation was performed with four different fluorescent compounds: (i) indocyanine green, a nontargeting dye; (ii) OsteoSense750, a bone targeting agent; (iii) tumor targeting Trastuzumab-Alexa750; and (iv) its F(ab')2-alxea750 fragment. The latter was used for a direct comparison between fluorescence imaging and classical blood analysis using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).


We found an excellent correlation between blood levels measured by noninvasive eye imaging with the results generated by classical methods. A strong correlation between eye imaging and ELISA was demonstrated for the F(ab')2 fragment. Whole body imaging revealed a compound accumulation in the expected regions (e.g., liver, bone).


The combination of eye and whole body fluorescence imaging enables the simultaneous measurement of blood PKs and biodistribution of fluorescent-labeled compounds.

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