Molecular afterglow imaging with bright, biodegradable polymer nanoparticles
Jokerst, Jesse V
Date of Issue2017
School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
Afterglow optical agents, which emit light long after cessation of excitation, hold promise for ultrasensitive in vivo imaging because they eliminate tissue autofluorescence. However, afterglow imaging has been limited by its reliance on inorganic nanoparticles with relatively low brightness and short-near-infrared (NIR) emission. Here we present semiconducting polymer nanoparticles (SPNs) <40 nm in diameter that store photon energy via chemical defects and emit long-NIR afterglow luminescence at 780 nm with a half-life of ∼6 min. In vivo, the afterglow intensity of SPNs is more than 100-fold brighter than that of inorganic afterglow agents, and the signal is detectable through the body of a live mouse. High-contrast lymph node and tumor imaging in living mice is demonstrated with a signal-to-background ratio up to 127-times higher than that obtained by NIR fluorescence imaging. Moreover, we developed an afterglow probe, activated only in the presence of biothiols, for early detection of drug-induced hepatotoxicity in living mice.
© 2017 Nature America, Inc., part of Springer Nature. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Nature Biotechology, Nature America, Inc. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nbt.3987].