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Gadolinium-Functionalized Aggregation-Induced Emission Dots as Dual-Modality Probes for Cancer Metastasis Study

Authors

  • Kai Li,

    1. Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, 3 Research Link, 117602, Singapore
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  • Dan Ding,

    1. Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, National University of Singapore, 117576, Singapore
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  • Chandrasekharan Prashant,

    1. Laboratory of Molecular Imaging, Singapore Bioimaging Consortium, 11 Biopolis Way, #02-02 Helios, 138667, Singapore
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  • Wei Qin,

    1. Department of Chemistry, Division of Biomedical Engineering, The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
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  • Chang-Tong Yang,

    1. Laboratory of Molecular Imaging, Singapore Bioimaging Consortium, 11 Biopolis Way, #02-02 Helios, 138667, Singapore
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  • Ben Zhong Tang,

    1. Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, 3 Research Link, 117602, Singapore
    2. Department of Chemistry, Division of Biomedical Engineering, The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
    3. SCUT-HKUST Joint Research Laboratory, Guangdong Innovative Research Team, State Key Laboratory of Luminescent Materials and Devices, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510640, China
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  • Bin Liu

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, 3 Research Link, 117602, Singapore
    2. Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, National University of Singapore, 117576, Singapore
    • Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, 3 Research Link, 117602, Singapore.

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Abstract

Understanding the localization and engraftment of tumor cells at postintravasation stage of metastasis is of high importance in cancer diagnosis and treatment. Advanced fluorescent probes and facile methodologies for cell tracing play a key role in metastasis studies. In this work, we design and synthesize a dual-modality imaging dots with both optical and magnetic contrast through integration of a magnetic resonance imaging reagent, gadolinium(III), into a novel long-term cell tracing probe with aggregation-induced emission (AIE) in far-red/near-infrared region. The obtained fluorescent-magnetic AIE dots have both high fluorescence quantum yield (25%) and T1 relaxivity (7.91 mM−1 s−1) in aqueous suspension. After further conjugation with a cell membrane penetrating peptide, the dual-modality dots can be efficiently internalized into living cells. The gadolinium(III) allows accurate quantification of biodistribution of cancer cells via intraveneous injection, while the high fluorescence provides engraftment information of cells at single cellular level. The dual-modality AIE dots show obvious synergistic advantages over either single imaging modality and hold great promises in advanced biomedical studies.

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