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Arch Plast Surg. 2018 Mar;45(2):111-117. doi: 10.5999/aps.2017.01487. Epub 2018 Mar 5.

In vivo tracking of adipose tissue grafts with cadmium-telluride quantum dots.

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Centre for Hand Surgery, Microsurgery and Plastic Surgery, Schoen-Klinik Muenchen Harlaching, Munich, Germany.
Department of Hand-, Plastic- and Aesthetic Surgery, Klinikum Grosshadern, LMU Munich, Munich, Germany.
Centre of Functional Photonics (CFP), Department of Physics and Material Science, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
Center for NanoScience (CeNS), LMU Munich, Munich, Germany.
Center for System based Drug Research, Department of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Biotechnolgy, LMU Munich, Munich, Germany.
Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Diagnostics, Centre of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.



Fat grafting, or lipofilling, represent frequent clinically used entities. The fate of these transplants is still not predictable, whereas only few animal models are available for further research. Quantum dots (QDs) are semiconductor nanocrystals which can be conveniently tracked in vivo due to photoluminescence.


Fat grafts in cluster form were labeled with cadmium-telluride (CdTe)-QD 770 and transplanted subcutaneously in a murine in vivo model. Photoluminescence levels were serially followed in vivo.


Tracing of fat grafts was possible for 50 days with CdTe-QD 770. The remaining photoluminescence was 4.9%±2.5% for the QDs marked fat grafts after 30 days and 4.2%± 1.7% after 50 days. There was no significant correlation in the relative course of the tracking signal, when vital fat transplants were compared to non-vital graft controls.


For the first-time fat grafts were tracked in vivo with CdTe-QDs. CdTe-QDs could offer a new option for in vivo tracking of fat grafts for at least 50 days, but do not document vitality of the grafts.


Adipocytes; Adipose tissue; Quantum dots; Transplantation

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