In vitro and in vivo investigations of upconversion and NIR emitting Gd2O3:Er3+,Yb3+ nanostructures for biomedical applications

  • Eva HemmerEmail author
  • Hiroyuki Takeshita
  • Tomoyoshi Yamano
  • Takanori Fujiki
  • Yvonne Kohl
  • Karin Löw
  • Nallusamy Venkatachalam
  • Hiroshi Hyodo
  • Hidehiro Kishimoto
  • Kohei Soga


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.


Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy Gd2O3 NaYF4 Chemical Durability Upconversion Emission 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was partly supported by Matching Fund Subsidy from MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology), 2006–2010 and 2009–2013. The authors thank Dr. Lionel Vayssieres (WPI Center for Materials NanoArchitectonics (MANA), National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), Tsukuba, Japan) for scientific discussion and provision of the zeta-potential equipment.

Supplementary material

10856_2012_4671_MOESM1_ESM.docx (855 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 856 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva Hemmer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hiroyuki Takeshita
    • 2
  • Tomoyoshi Yamano
    • 2
  • Takanori Fujiki
    • 3
  • Yvonne Kohl
    • 4
  • Karin Löw
    • 4
  • Nallusamy Venkatachalam
    • 3
  • Hiroshi Hyodo
    • 1
    • 3
  • Hidehiro Kishimoto
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kohei Soga
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Technologies Against Cancer (CTC)Tokyo University of ScienceChibaJapan
  2. 2.Division of Immunobiology, Research Institute for Biological SciencesTokyo University of ScienceChibaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Materials Science and TechnologyTokyo University of ScienceChibaJapan
  4. 4.Department of Cell Biology & Applied VirologyFraunhofer Institute for Biomedical EngineeringSt. IngbertGermany

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