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Sci Rep. 2016 Jun 6;6:27407. doi: 10.1038/srep27407.

Clear-cut observation of clearance of sustainable upconverting nanoparticles from lymphatic system of small living mice.

Author information

Bioimaging Research Team, Korea Basic Science Institute, Cheongju 28119, Korea.
Laboratory for Advanced Molecular Probing (LAMP), Research Center for Convergence NanoRaman Technology, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology, Daejeon 34114, Korea.
Environmental Monitoring &Research Team, Korea Basic Science Institute, Cheongju 28119, Korea.
School of Chemical Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 16419, Korea.
Bioanalytical Science, University of Science and Technology, Daejeon 34113, Korea.
Graduate School of Analytical Science and Technology, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Korea.


The significance of lymphatic system has gathered great attention for immunotechnology related to cancer metastasis and immunotherapy. To develop innovative immunodiagnostics and immunotherapy in in vivo environments, it is very important to understand excretion pathways and clearance of injected cargoes. Herein, we employed Tm(3+)-doped upconverting nanoparticles (UCNPs) with versatile advantages suitable for long-term non-invasive in vivo optical imaging and tracking. Transport and retention of the UCNPs in the lymphatic system were evaluated with high-quality NIR-to-NIR upconversion luminescence (UCL) imaging. We obtained their kinetic luminescence profiles for the injection site and sentinel lymph node (SLN) and observed luminescence signals for one month; we also examined UCL images in SLN tissues, organs, and faeces at each time point. We speculate that the injected UCNPs in a footpad of a small mouse are transported rapidly from the lymphatic system to the blood system and then eventually result in an efficient excretion by the hepatobiliary route. These results will support development of novel techniques for SLN biopsy as well as immunotechnology.

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