, Volume 23, Issue 10, pp 2399-2412
Date: 16 May 2012

In vitro and in vivo investigations of upconversion and NIR emitting Gd2 O3 :Er3+ ,Yb3+ nanostructures for biomedical applications

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The use of an “over 1000-nm near-infrared (NIR) in vivo fluorescence bioimaging” system based on lanthanide containing inorganic nanostructures emitting in the visible and NIR range under 980-nm excitation is proposed. It may overcome problems of currently used biomarkers including color fading, phototoxicity and scattering. Gd2O3:Er3+,Yb3+ nanoparticles and nanorods showing upconversion and NIR emission are synthesized and their cytotoxic behavior is investigated by incubation with B-cell hybridomas and macrophages. Surface modification with PEG-b-PAAc provides the necessary chemical durability reducing the release of toxic Gd3+ ions. NIR fluorescence microscopy is used to investigate the suitability of the nanostructures as NIR–NIR biomarkers. The in vitro uptake of bare and modified nanostructures by macrophages is investigated by confocal laser scanning microscopy. In vivo investigations revealed nanostructures in liver, lung, kidneys and spleen a few hours after injection into mice, while most of the nanostructures have been removed from the body after 24 h.