Noninvasive optical imaging of nanomedicine biodistribution

S. Kunjachan, F. Gremse, B. Theek, P. Koczera, R. Pola, M. Pechar, T. Etrych, K. Ulbrich, Gerrit Storm, F. Kiessling, Twan Gerardus Gertudis Maria Lammers

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Nanomedicines are sub-micrometer-sized carrier materials designed to improve the biodistribution of i.v. administered (chemo-) therapeutic agents. In recent years, ever more efforts in the nanomedicine field have employed optical imaging (OI) techniques to monitor biodistribution and target site accumulation. Thus far, however, the longitudinal assessment of nanomedicine biodistribution using OI has been impossible, due to limited light penetration (in the case of 2D fluorescence reflectance imaging; FRI) and to the inability to accurately allocate fluorescent signals to nonsuperficial organs (in the case of 3D fluorescence molecular tomography; FMT). Using a combination of high-resolution microcomputed tomography (μCT) and FMT, we have here set out to establish a hybrid imaging protocol for noninvasively visualizing and quantifying the accumulation of near-infrared fluorophore-labeled nanomedicines in tissues other than superficial tumors. To this end, HPMA-based polymeric drug carriers were labeled with Dy750, their biodistribution and tumor accumulation were analyzed using FMT, and the resulting data sets were fused with anatomical μCT data sets in which several different physiologically relevant organs were presegmented. The robustness of 3D organ segmentation was validated, and the results obtained using 3D CT-FMT were compared to those obtained upon standard 3D FMT and 2D FRI. Our findings convincingly demonstrate that combining anatomical μCT with molecular FMT facilitates the noninvasive assessment of nanomedicine biodistribution
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)252-262
JournalACS nano
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • METIS-301784
  • IR-90152

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