Ultrasmall near-infrared non-cadmium quantum dots for in vivo tumor imaging

Jinhao Gao, Kai Chen, Renguo Xie, Jin Xie, Seulki Lee, Zhen Cheng, Xiaogang Peng, Xiaoyuan Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The high tumor uptake of ultrasmall near-infrared quantum dots (QDs) attributed to the enhanced permeability and retention effect is reported. InAs/InP/ZnSe QDs coated by mercaptopropionic acid (MPA) exhibit an emission wavelength of about 800 nm (QD800-MPA) with very small hydrodynamic diameter (<10nm). Using 22B and LS174T tumor xenograft models, in vivo and ex vivo imaging studies show that QD800-MPA is highly accumulated in the tumor area, which is very promising for tumor detection in living mice. The ex vivo elemental analysis (Indium) using inductively coupled plasma (ICP) spectrometry confirm the tumor uptake of QDs. The ICP data are consistent with the in vivo and ex vivo fluorescence imaging. Human serum albumin (HSA)-coated QD800-MPA nanoparticles (QD800-MPA-HSA) show reduced localization in mononuclear phagocytic system-related organs over QD800-MPA plausibly due to the low uptake of QD800-MPA-HSA in macrophage cells. QD800-MPA-HSA may have great potential for in vivo fluorescence imaging

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-261
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 18 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Fluorescence imaging
  • Passive targeting
  • Quantum dots
  • Tumor imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)


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