Biodistribution of fluorescently labeled PAMAM dendrimers in neonatal rabbits: Effect of neuroinflammation

Wojciech G. Lesniak, Manoj K. Mishra, Amar Jyoti, Bindu Balakrishnan, Fan Zhang, Elizabeth Nance, Roberto Romero, Sujatha Kannan, Rangaramanujam M. Kannan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dendrimers are being explored in many preclinical studies as drug, gene, and imaging agent delivery systems. Understanding their detailed organ, tissue, cellular uptake, and retention can provide valuable insights into their effectiveness as delivery vehicles and the associated toxicity. This work explores a fluorescence-quantification based assay that enables simultaneous quantitative biodistribution and imaging of dendrimers with a single agent. We have labeled an ethylenediamine-core generation-4 hydroxyl-terminated poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimer using the fluorescent photostable, near-IR cyanine dye (Cy5) and performed quantitative and qualitative biodistribution of the dendrimer-Cy5 conjugates (D-Cy5) in healthy neonatal rabbits and neonatal rabbits with cerebral palsy (CP). The biodistribution of D-Cy5 and free Cy5 dye was evaluated in newborn rabbits, based on the developed quantification methods using fluorescence spectroscopy, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and size exclusion chromatography (SEC) and supported by microscopic imaging. The uptake was assessed in the brain, heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, blood serum, and urine. Results obtained based on these three independent methods are in good agreement and indicate the fast renal clearance of D-Cy5 and free Cy5 with relatively higher organs accumulation of the D-Cy5 conjugate. Following systemic administration, the D-Cy5 mainly accumulated in kidneys and bladder at 24 h. The quantitative biodistribution is in good agreement with previous studies based on radiolabeling. These methods for dendrimers quantification are easier and more practical, provide excellent sensitivity (reaching 0.1 ng per gram of tissue), and allow for quantification of dendrimers in different organs over longer time periods without concerns for radioactive decay, while also enabling tissue and cellular imaging in the same animal. In kits with fetal-neuroinflammation induced CP, there was a significantly higher uptake of D-Cy5 in the brain, while biodistribution in other organs was similar to that of healthy kits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4560-4571
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2 2013


  • PAMAM dendrimer
  • biodistribution
  • brain uptake quantification
  • cellular imaging
  • cerebral palsy
  • neuroinflammation
  • pharmacokinetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery

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