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Noninvasive Imaging of Quantum Dots in Mice

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Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center, and Department of Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, 4400 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213 and Quantum Dot Corporation, 26118 Research Road, Hayward, California 94545
Cite this: Bioconjugate Chem. 2004, 15, 1, 79–86
Publication Date (Web):December 30, 2003
Copyright © 2004 American Chemical Society

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    Quantum dots having four different surface coatings were tested for use in in vivo imaging. Localization was successfully monitored by fluorescence imaging of living animals, by necropsy, by frozen tissue sections for optical microscopy, and by electron microscopy, on scales ranging from centimeters to nanometers, using only quantum dots for detection. Circulating half-lives were found to be less than 12 min for amphiphilic poly(acrylic acid), short-chain (750 Da) methoxy-PEG or long-chain (3400 Da) carboxy-PEG quantum dots, but approximately 70 min for long-chain (5000 Da) methoxy-PEG quantum dots. Surface coatings also determined the in vivo localization of the quantum dots. Long-term experiments demonstrated that these quantum dots remain fluorescent after at least four months in vivo.

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     To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:  [email protected].

     Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center, Carnegie Mellon University.

     Department of Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University.


     Quantum Dot Corporation.

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    A Quicktime movie showing fluorescence images of whole animal distribution of the mPEG-750 and mPEG-5000 quantum dots directly after injection. This material is available free of charge via the Internet at

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