Molecular Imaging and Biology

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 757–762 | Cite as

Residualization Rates of Near-Infrared Dyes for the Rational Design of Molecular Imaging Agents

  • Cornelius Cilliers
  • Jianshan Liao
  • Lydia Atangcho
  • Greg M. ThurberEmail author
Brief Article



Near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging is widely used for tracking antibodies and biomolecules in vivo. Clinical and preclinical applications include intraoperative imaging, tracking therapeutics, and fluorescent labeling as a surrogate for subsequent radiolabeling. Despite their extensive use, one of the fundamental properties of NIR dyes, the residualization rate within cells following internalization, has not been systematically studied. This rate is required for the rational design of probes and proper interpretation of in vivo results.


In this brief report, we measure the cellular residualization rate of eight commonly used dyes encompassing three core structures (cyanine, boron-dipyrromethene (BODIPY), and oxazine/thiazine/carbopyronin).


We identify residualizing (half-life >24 h) and non-residualizing (half-life <24 h) dyes in both the far-red (~650–680 nm) and near-infrared (~740–800 nm) regions.


This data will allow researchers to independently and rationally select the wavelength and residualizing nature of dyes for molecular imaging agent design.

Key words

Cyanine dyes Fluorescently labeled antibodies Protein metabolism Receptor internalization Multi-modality imaging Fluorophore retention 



We thank the University of Michigan Biointerfaces Institute for use of the plate reader. Funding was provided by NIH grant 1K01DK093766 (GMT).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11307_2015_851_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (475 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 474 kb)


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Copyright information

© World Molecular Imaging Society 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cornelius Cilliers
    • 1
  • Jianshan Liao
    • 1
  • Lydia Atangcho
    • 1
  • Greg M. Thurber
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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